Jury selection for DUI is the process of selecting jurors to hear the case. Selecting a jury is very important for any defendant. Getting a fair trial depends on it. Our experienced criminal defense attorney team explains what you need to know about jury selection for DUI.
Choosing a jury for DUI begins with something called voir dire. That’s just the legal term for interviewing the jury. The court and the lawyers ask the jury questions about their opinions and their fitness to be a juror. Once the process is complete, the jury that is selected hears the DUI case.
What happens during jury selection?
During jury selection, the attorneys have the opportunity to ask the jurors questions. If the court or a party thinks that a juror can’t be fair, they may be removed. In Pennsylvania DUI trials, the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure Chapter 6 creates rules for how to question potential jurors. Both parties must follow these rules.
Effective jury selection in a PA DUI case
There are several ways to ensure that jury selection is effective in a DUI case. Some of the questions that your criminal defense attorney should ask the jurors have to do with their ability to attend the trial. For example, a party with a physical impairment that requires frequent medical attention may not be able to serve on a jury. A nursing mother may not be able to meet the requirements of jury service.
Once you ask preliminary questions, it’s important to ask the jurors questions about their specific attitudes about DUI. For example, a person may be a law enforcement officer, a retired law enforcement officer or they may have a police officer in the family. This person may have a bias in favor of the police. They may not be willing to give equal weight to the testimony of others.
Another kind of bias can be someone who has been the victim of a drunk driving accident. This person may judge the case based on their own personal experience. A juror is supposed to base the case on the evidence in front of them and the jury instructions. However, their own personal experience can taint their judgment. It’s important for your criminal defense attorney to ask the right questions in order to root out these kinds of biases.
How an attorney can help with jury selection for DUI
An attorney can help you with jury selection for DUI by helping you evaluate potential jurors. An attorney may exercise challenges for cause. These kinds of challenges are based on biases that are revealed during the questioning process.
Your attorney may also help you exercise peremptory challenges. These types of challenges allow you to remove a juror without providing an explanation for the choice. Effectively interviewing the jury and challenging jurors can ensure that you get a qualified jury for a DUI claim. If you’re facing a DUI charge, contact our attorneys today to talk about your case.