Arizona DUI Jury Selection
While it is rare, some DUI cases do go through the jury system. You have a right to a speedy and public trial by jury thanks to the sixth amendment and Arizona’s constitution.
Jury members are randomly selected using Arizona’s motor vehicle driver’s license database and voter registration data. The law ensures that all jurors are 18 years of age and legal U.S. citizens. Additionally, the jurors must live within the court’s jurisdiction and be able to sit through the duration of the trial.
DUI cases require six jurors with one alternate. You might be more familiar with felony case juries that include 12 jurors and four alternates.
Although it is not common for DUI cases to include a jury, it is an option that you might discuss with your attorney. Understanding the process for jury selection can help you decide the best course of action for your case.
DUI Jury Selection
The jury selection process is known as voir dire. The term means “speak truth.” The process starts with the courts summoning many people to appear for jury duty. The prosecution and defense teams’ lawyers will each get an opportunity to interview the potential jury members to select jurors who will be fair and impartial based on the evidence and details of a case.
The goal that your defense team will have is to weed out individuals who carry a prejudice against you. Your attorney will ask direct and clear questions to find out their history and any personal experiences that could influence their ability to issue a fair verdict.
In addition to the lawyers for the case, the judge will also ask questions of the potential jurors to learn more about what obstacles they might face to devoting time to the case. Some potential obstacles to serving as a juror include:
- Upcoming scheduled surgery
- Undue financial hardship
- Lack of childcare
Interviewing Potential Jurors
When interviewing potential jurors, your attorney will seek to understand three key areas to decide whether the jury will be fair and impartial.
- Background: your attorney will work to learn more about the juror’s education, work experience, background and socioeconomic status to learn more about who they are.
- Experience: understanding key details about the potential juror’s experience will guide you in learning more about how those experiences could impact your case. Questions about whether they’ve been a crime victim or faced drinking and driving charges.
- Beliefs and opinions: you want to learn about any potential bias before it becomes an issue in your case. So if the juror believes that no one should drink alcohol ever, they likely won’t show any favor upon someone who is facing drinking and driving charges.
There are two ways that the lawyers can challenge jurors: challenge for cause and peremptory challenge.
Challenge for cause is when a lawyer or the judge sees a cause for the juror to not serve due to a deeply held belief or inability to be impartial in the case.
A peremptory challenge is when either side of the case challenges a juror who is qualified to serve on the jury. Generally, your attorney will get two challenges in a DUI case. However, you cannot challenge a juror based on their race or class.
DUI Case with a Judge
DUI cases can be decided by only a judge and no jury. These cases still include evidence, witness testimony and other ways of presenting your case. Judges know how to uphold the law and review evidence.
If you’re facing a DUI charge and are unsure of how to proceed, contact our office. We’ll guide you in the best strategy based on your case’s details.