Jury selection, or voir dire, is an essential part of a
DUI trial. For this reason, this is something that your Orange County DUI
attorney should pay close attention to. During jury selection, potential
jurors will be questioned about their background and personal beliefs.
During these interviews, your attorney will ask questions designed to
reveal any biases that the potential jurors might have that could compromise
the fairness of your trial. Jurors with strong biases can be removed from
the pool. The prosecuting attorney is likely be focused on screening out
jurors who are biased in your favor, so it will be up to your lawyer to
screen out jurors who are likely to be biased against you.
There is an art to conducting voir dire. Your lawyer must try to lead the
potential jurors to reveal their biases without seeming overly invasive
or aggressive, which may lead them to become defensive. Instead, they
should ask open-ended questions that allow the potential jurors to explain
their opinions and the rationales behind them. They may also ask potential
jurors to comment on the opinions of other jurors, rather than coming
at them with a direct question. Your attorney will do all of this because
biased jurors can be dangerous for your DUI case. They ignore even the
most rational and best supported defenses, and they can put people who
are not guilty in jail.
For DUI cases in particular, anti-alcohol bias is a major issue. There
are people who, because of religious convictions, personal experiences
or other factors, are strongly against even legal alcohol use. These individuals
make poor jurors, as they are unlikely to give your case fair consideration.
Since these biases will not be immediately apparent, your attorney will
have to do some subtle probing. One possible line of questioning that
can reveal bias is to ask the juror if he or she keeps any alcohol at
home. Another would be asking if they would serve alcohol if they had
a party or wedding. The jurors' treatment of alcohol will reflect
their attitudes towards alcohol.
A juror who keeps a fully stocked bar at home is unlikely to have problematic
attitudes towards alcohol. However, a juror who does not drink may be
automatically biased against alcohol use. There are other reasons why
a person might not drink, such as a medical condition, so your lawyer
will need to ask potential jurors who do not drink what their reasons
are. A successful voir dire is one of the most important parts of fighting
your DUI charges, so it is crucial that you hire an experienced attorney
who can handle it.
Call The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs for a free consultation.