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Biased jurors to avoid in DUI cases
Every DUI case is unique, and each potential juror must be evaluated according to his or her own personal experiences and characteristics. However, as a general rule, your DUI defense attorney should try to have the following individuals excused from jury duty on the ground that they are biased against the defense case:
Strong anti-alcohol positions
Many people have strong anti-alcohol feelings. Whether these feelings stem from a negative personal experience with alcohol or a religious belief or some other source, you do not want these individuals deciding your DUI case. During jury selection, your attorney will make an effort to have prospective jurors with strong anti-alcohol opinions excused from jury duty by asking questions similar to the following:
Q: Ms. Juror, you told the court you do not believe in drinking and driving at all? Q: Now this is your position and, if you were a politician, you would follow it, right? Q: It does not matter to you what your neighbor believes on this? Q: To you, if someone drinks and drives, that is it? Q: If I were to argue with you on this point, you would be upset, possibly even angry? Q: No one should tell you to accept as right something that you feel is wrong? Q: In other words, no one can convince you that drinking and driving is acceptable? Q: And any attempt to do so would be harassing and intimidating?
This line of questioning demonstrates that the juror has a firm and unassailable bias against persons charged with DUI.
Prior DUI charges resolved without trial
Another juror who generally is biased against the defense in a DUI case is an individual who has had a prior DUI arrest/charge that was resolved without a trial (e.g., with a plea bargain). These individuals (1) tend to believe everyone is guilty, since they were; (2) may resent you for going to trial when they pleaded to an offense; or (3) may hold the hidden belief that since a DUI first offense is not so bad, your case must involve something worse than that if it is going to trial. There is one caveat to this general rule: If, during questioning by your DUI attorney, the prospective juror reveals that he or she went to trial on the DUI charge, or wanted to go to trial, or in some way feels he or she was not treated fairly, this person may be a good juror for your DUI case.
Truckers and other high-mileage drivers
People who do a lot of driving for a living, truckers especially, generally are biased against the defense in a DUI trial. They see too much and make too many assumptions with regard to this offense.
As a general rule, “uniforms” do not make good DUI jurors because of their bias in favor of the prosecution. A “uniform” is someone who works or has worked in law enforcement, or as a firefighter, ambulance driver, paramedic, etc. These individuals tend to stand by the arresting officer, even when confronted with blatant inconsistencies in the officer’s story.