DUI Jury Trial in Fullerton
My streak of three DUI jury trial wins in a row came to an end in Fullerton, Orange County last week on a case that I felt I should have won. The facts of the case were that the defendant had been stopped by a CHP officer following a high speed chase during which my client reached speeds of over 130mph. This was not disputed, although the defendant had been racing with another vehicle and was unaware that the police were trying to catch up with him. Following the traffic stop, he cooperated with the police and did well on field sobriety tests. He gave a blood sample with a reading of .08%. The defense was that he was likely below a .08% and not impaired at the time of driving, despite the fact that he was driving at a very dangerous speed.
After finding my client guilty, one of the jurors told me after the trial that the jury had initially taken a vote and that seven out of twelve jurors were inclined to vote not guilty. The jury deliberated for a full day and evidently, one of the jurors who voted guilty was very persuasive and the others were persuaded to vote guilty. The juror declined to tell me who the influential juror was, but I suspect it was him. He seemed very taken with himself and proud of the verdict.
During my closing argument, I always ask jurors to take part in deliberations, feel confident about their points of view and caution them not to just go with the flow because it is easier. I think this jury was worn down by a very opinionated and motivated juror, who I should have excused during jury selection.
You can't win them all, but this one hurt. It is very challenging for DUI defense attorneys in Orange County as the jury pool is essentially pro police, republican, religious and very strongly anti-DUI. I pass no judgment, but as a DUI lawyer, these are not friendly jurors.