Criminal Defense in Orange County

Characteristics of an Ideal Juror in Your DUI Case

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and your case is going to trial, your criminal defense attorney will try to select jurors who are open-minded and might be agreeable to your particular defense. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your lawyer might try one of several themes to build your case around. The ideal juror will have some character traits that are relevant to the case theme that your attorney has planned. In order to maximize your chances of success, they will attempt to have these ideal candidates empanelled on the jury.

How Your "Case Theme" Will Affect Jury Selection

As with all other factors in a DUI case, the characteristics of an ideal juror will vary from case to case. Broadly speaking, the ideal jury member for any drunk driving defense is a person who drinks alcohol, drives a car, and seems to be as objective and open-minded as is possible. What specific characteristics make for an ideal juror in your case depends on your case theme. Your case theme is the one or two strongest points in your favor; these arguments will be used to develop the main part of your defense. The case theme will also be used to guide the selection of jurors.

Two possible case themes include a "disconnect" case and an improperly-conducted breath test. In the former, your DUI defense attorney in Orange County will argue that there is some sort of discrepancy between your alleged drinking pattern and results from the standardized field sobriety test and the chemical test results. If this is your type of case theme, you will want skeptical-minded individuals as jurors. Your lawyer would want as jurors, for example, people who simply know that their child is sick regardless of doctor opinions or who agree that machines are not perfect.

With regard to the case theme of an improperly-conducted breath test, your attorney will argue that your breath test was not done correctly. People who have faith in procedures and who would disapprove of sloppiness on the part of a police officer would make good jurors here, as would accountant-types and former military personnel. Your lawyer will try to ensure that the jurors here would want procedures and safeguards to be followed in an exact fashion; they will also want to ensure that people who believe in approximations and do not value precision would be dismissed.

Looking Out for Potentially Bad Jurors

In DUI trials, there are certain people who make bad jurors for the defense. For example, people with prior DUI charges and arrests or people whose cases were decided without a hearing will usually be prejudiced against the defense. The reason for this is that most prior offenders are likely to think that, because they were at fault, so is everybody else. People with prior DUI arrests or charges may also be offended by you going to trial rather than pleading guilty to the offense.

Additionally, some of those with priors may actually believe that, because the first DUI offense is typically not so terrible, your case must include something far worse than that if it is at the point of going to trial. However, if there are potential jurors who disclose to your Orange County DUI defense lawyer that they went to or wanted to go to trial on a DUI charge or feel as though they were unfairly treated, those people may actually be good jurors for your criminal case.

Furthermore, people who work or have previously worked in law enforcement, firefighters, and paramedics generally do not make good jurors because of their bias in support of the prosecution. Such persons are more inclined to back up the arresting officer, even when faced with obvious discrepancies in the officer's version of the story. Jury selection will be a crucial factor in your defense, so it is highly recommended that you put your case in the hands of experienced legal counsel.

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