Sometimes misdemeanor cases set for trial do not go to trial on the first trial setting. However, this does not mean you can appear in court half prepared, because you never know for sure. The point is, you should be aware that you may make more than one trip to the courthouse for your trial before the case is actually tried. The trial is to a jury of your peers, consisting of six people in a misdemeanor and twelve people in a felony, unless you are in the unusual circumstance of requesting a trial to the court or "bench trial." Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, a DWI trial can last from one to five days. The trial is divided into several parts: the jury selection or voir dire; the opening remarks; the State's case-in-chief; the defense case-in-chief; and closing arguments.

Unless you testify during the defense case-in-chief, the only time during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial that you will say anything to the judge or jury is just before opening remarks when you are arraigned before the jury (when the formal charges are read in open court) and you announce to the judge and jury that you plead NOT GUILTY. Even though you may not say anything else to the judge or jury, your role is far from passive. You should listen closely to the testimony and make notes of things you think your lawyer needs to know. Unless you lawyer has instructed you otherwise, you should not distract your lawyer during witnesses testimony. Save the things you need to talk about for breaks and intermissions between witnesses. Although the things you need to tell the lawyer are important and your lawyer needs to know what you think, distracting your lawyer while a witness is testifying may cause your lawyer to miss something that requires an objection or a question on cross-examination.