Voir Dire is the process of questioning a jury pool before the trial begins to learn about their prejudices, biases, intelligence and overall personality. Jury selection, or voir dire, is crucial for both the prosecution and the defense of any DUI jury trial. Each attorney is allowed time to question the potential jury members. The judge decides how much time the attorneys will have to ask questions during jury selection. Most judges allow 20 to 30 minutes to question jurors for a DUI case. Jurors are legally required to answer honestly during voir dire. Jurors have been known to use deception for the purpose of becoming a jury member or to avoid being a jury member. An experienced DUI attorney usually can determine which jurors are being dishonest during the jury selection process.
Both the prosecution and defense attempt to select jurors during voir dire that would most likely prove beneficial for their respective clients. Each attorney is permitted to excuse members of the jury pool through peremptory challenges or challenges for cause. Peremptory challenges are limited and attorneys use this challenge to dismiss a juror that appears to harbor an unfavorable bias toward the client. A challenge for cause is not limited in number and essentially states a juror simply cannot be fair, unbiased or capable of serving as a member of the jury. Below is a chart listing characteristics of jurors that a DUI attorney is seeking and the jurors the prosecution is seeking during voir dire:
DUI Defense Jury Selection
Drinker’s who admit to having more than two drinks in one sitting.
Middle to lower class.
Those who appear under-dressed.
Blue collar workers.
Country music fans.
Rugby, softball, or soccer team members.
Overweight persons who drink.
Social easy going happy people.
Persons who have contested traffic tickets.
Those who root for underdog.
Retired non-commissioned military.
Persons distrustful of government.
Beer and bourbon drinkers.
Anyone you instinctively like.
Prosecution Jury Selection
Non-drinkers – recovering alcoholics.
Up-tight judgmental types.
Physical fitness buffs.
Anyone with law enforcement ties.
Those close with friends or family with drinking problems.
Anyone involved in accident with drunk driver.
Engineers or technical types.
Persons in the medical profession.
Persons employed in insurance industry.
Retired military officer.
Those who never drive after drinking.