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What Happens if a Crucial Witness is Unavailable?

Drunk driving cases rarely make it to trial, and when they do, they can take a long time to conclude. Sometimes, circumstances arise that delay the DUI trial process. Attorney schedules, court schedules, and other conflicts can keep the trial from moving forward. But what happens when a key witness fails to appear in court?

If your defense case is built on the testimony of a key witness, it will be impossible for the trial to continue without him / her. When a witness is suddenly unavailable, due to a legitimate emergency, your lawyer can file acontinuance to delay the trial.

The court has the power to grant or deny the continuance.

How The Court Decides to Grant / Deny Continuance

Generally speaking, the court will examine the good faith of the applicant. If the applicant's motion is genuine and the circumstances of the case require continuance, the court will most likely grant the motion. If the applicant cannot demonstrate a good reason to file a motion for continuance, the court may deny it.

Sometimes, the court will issue a continuance sua sponte; without a motion from the applicant. This is a rare situation and only occurs under extreme circumstances. For instance, the court could initiate a continuance if neither party appears in court the day of the trial.