Before a trial for driving under the influence can begin, the jury must be chosen. As many legal advisors know, having no associated penalties can be a potential benefit of a jury case for a DUI offense. If the person loses, the penalty depends on the judge who has heard all of the facts and circumstances of the case. It may be critical to speak with a distinguished criminal attorney before the West Palm Beach DUI jury trial selection.
Pros and Cons of a Jury Trial
The disadvantages of a jury trial are that a person puts their fate into the hands of six strangers. After a West Palm Beach DUI jury trial selection takes place, the six individuals must decide whether the evidence of driving under the influence is sufficient to prove the person guilty. If someone is found guilty, the sentencing is up to the judge. The incentive to not go to trial typically means that the individual has negotiated an acceptable resolution to their case.
What Happens If Someone is Found Guilty?
When someone goes to trial and is found guilty of driving under the influence, sentencing is at the discretion of the Court. The individual can be looking at the least possible sentence all the way up to the maximum sentence possible. With a first offense DUI, the least sentence possible is probation, with a maximum sentence of possibly six months in jail.
What is the West Palm Beach Jury Trial Selection Process?
The jury selection process includes judges and attorneys deciding who the jurors are going to be. People are summoned to come to the Courthouse to serve as jurors and participate in the West Palm Beach DUI jury trial selection process.
When someone decides they are going to a jury trial, the judge asks the court to randomly send 20 to 25 people to the Judge’s Courtroom to be interviewed as potential jurors in the case. Once they are summoned to the Courtroom, the interview process begins.
Questioning Potential DUI Juries
During the West Palm Beach DUI jury trial selection, the judge asks a series of questions about their identity and where they work. They ask each possible juror if they have any conflicts. The judge asks each person about their experience with law enforcement and their experience with the criminal justice system.
The questions help the judge determine whether the individual juror can be fair and impartial, listen to both sides of the case, apply the law as instructed by the judge, and come up with a decision based on the facts and instructions they are given.
After the judge asks their questions, the attorneys for the Government and the defense attorney have an opportunity to ask questions. The purpose of their questions is also to determine who is going to be fair and impartial.
How Many Serve on a West Palm Beach DUI Jury?
From the 20 or 25 people that are brought into the room for West Palm Beach jury trial selection, only six serve as jurors. Depending on the length of the trial, there may be one or two alternate jurors. While six people are chosen to serve on a jury, there may actually be eight people serving after the West Palm Beach DUI jury trial selection. The extra jurors are selected to make sure there are enough people to go through the entire case. Both sides in that process can make a challenge for cause about any juror who cannot be fair. Perhaps their relative is a police officer or they themselves were prosecuted for a crime.
Challenging a Juror
If either side thinks a potential juror cannot be fair, they have the right to ask the judge to remove them for legal reasons. An attorney is allowed to challenge somebody if they believe the potential juror cannot be favorable to them or they do not like the answers to their questions.
Attorneys in DUI cases have the right to exclude a possible juror automatically as long their reasons are race-neutral. A person cannot racially profile people during the West Palm Beach DUI jury trial selection. There must be a race-neutral reason to exclude people when they are not going to be fair and impartial to both sides.