Effective jury selection is crucial in any criminal case and this certainly applies to DUI cases because of the prejudice many people have toward defendants charged with drunk driving. If you have been arrested for a DUI in California and you have made the decision that you wish to try your case, you need representation by a DUI attorney with trial experience and an understanding of the importance of jury selection.
During jury selection, the judge will initially conduct an examination of the jurors and ask some basic questions, such as whether they are married, what they do for a living, whether they have been on a jury before etc. However, following the courts initial examination, prosecuting and defense counsel are then given an opportunity to ask questions of potential jurors geared toward establishing whether individual jurors can be fair in the case at hand. Some jurors will disclose information that would lead the judge to excuse them for cause if they simply cannot be fair due to prejudice or past experience.
Experienced DUI defense attorneys are able to question prospective jurors so that the eventual make up of the jury is more likely to favor the defendant. There are a number of subjects that DUI defense lawyers address during jury selection including burden of proof and standard of proof in criminal cases in order to educate the jury pool and to seek out potential jurors who are likely to convict based on their answers. Potential Jurors who should be sought out and excused include authority figures, people who do not drink at all or believe that it is against the law to drink any alcohol and drive, contributors to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, victims of DUI drivers, and people married to CHP Officers. Each side in a drunk driving case is entitled to ten peremptory challenges. This means that up to ten jurors can be excused by either side without giving a reason. Following these challenges, the defense hopes that a jury has been selected that can consider the evidence fairly and come to the right verdict of not guilty.
DUI defense attorneys Nigel Witham and Jeffrey Gold are experienced trial lawyers who understand the process and politics of jury trial in DUI cases. Please call 562 938 7771 for a free case evaluation.