Criminal Defense in Orange County

How to Educate Jurors on Problems with Chemical Testing

Voir dire is the examination whereby the opposing attorneys, and sometimes the judge, ask the panel of potential jurors questions. Although the primary purpose is to select an unbiased jury acceptable to both sides and the court, a skilled lawyer may be able to provide additional benefits in your defense. Each examination of each juror takes place in open court. Therefore, not only is it the appropriate time to question one juror on a specific issue, but it also provides an opportunity to address the entire panel of jurors.

Although your attorney will only be speaking directly to one person at a time, everyone in the court is listening and hearing. For example, jurors are often required to voluntarily disclose any information that may, on its face, make them appear to be biased. If someone in the panel has been convicted of DUI, for example, the prosecution will know that and must disclose it to the defense.

With that knowledge, a lawyer can follow up with the juror and determine details about his or her case. Too often, individuals arrested for DUI are told by their defense counsel to just plead guilty. Too often, their defense counsel did not explain that chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine) can be challenged at trial for accuracy and procedural errors. This information is incorporated in the questions for all to hear.

If that had occurred in the juror's situation, then your lawyer may then continue and ask whether the juror understands that it is only the jury during a trial, not the judge, who evaluates the evidence presented. Whether or not this juror is impaneled and becomes a member of the jury, all jurors will now understand that:

  1. Chemical evidence is not absolute;
  2. Both the procedures for collection and the results of chemical testing may be challenged at trial; and
  3. It is the jury who must do the right thing in a trial and really look at the evidence.

If you've been arrested for DUI and face trial, get the legal help you need from an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Orange County who can ensure that you get a panel of fair-minded jurors. Call The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs today to schedule a free initial consultation.