THE IMPORTANCE OF JURY SELECTION IN A DUI CASE – Part 1.
It has been said that the best juror for a DUI case is a white male, age 22-26, who is either in college or college-educated, has been in at least one accident in the past four years and drinks alcohol recreationally. Such individuals are more likely to relate to the defendant and can emphasize with being in the defendant’s position. Jurors that can relate to a defendant in this way will more often acquit a DUI defendant by mere virtue of being able to see themselves in the same predicament. Jury selection is the first opportunity for a criminal defense attorney to make a favorable impression with the people who will ultimately be sitting in judgment of their client.
“The bad facts” of the defense in any DUI case should be made known to jurors in selection in an effort to take the wind out of the prosecutor’s sails and avoid the jury’s shock as the evidentiary portion of the trial unfolds. Most important is the defense attorney’s obligation to educate jurors as to the applicable legal concepts involved in a DUI trial.
In jury selection, open ended questions should always be asked, requiring a dialog between the presumptive juror and the defense attorney. A conversational type of questioning is certainly the best method to reveal any biases that individual jurors may have. Individual biases may always influence a juror’s decision and must be determined prior to their being allowed to sit in judgment.