Selecting a Jury for a Maryland DUI Trial

The jury selection process typically begins with the court bringing in a prospective pool of jurors, selected through the motor voter rules of the Maryland county. The juror must be a resident of the county and over 18 years of age. The pool will number about 30 people, and the prosecution and defense will be given basic information about each of them, their name, age, occupation, and spouse’s occupation.

Reach out to an attorney to learn more about selecting a jury for a Maryland DUI trial. An experienced DUI trial attorney could help you understand this process and how to argue a defense.

Voir Dire Process

In the voir dire process, the defense and prosecution will submit lits of questions each wants the judge to ask the jurors. They are basic questions, such as do they understand and read English, are they a citizen, and if they live in the county. Then there are questions that have to do with the type of case being tried, such as have they ever been convicted of a DUI and if any family member has been a victim of a crash involving a drunk driver.

Also, they will be asked whether they are lawyers, if there are lawyers in their family, is anyone in their family in law enforcement, and do they know anyone involved in the case, either of the lawyers or the judges. When selecting a jury for a Maryland DUI trial, it is crucial to uncover potential biases or prejudices. At the conclusion of all those questions, first the judge will strike jurors from the pool for cause, and each side can strike four jurors without explanation. They are not supposed to be struck on the basis of race or religion, but they could be under that system.

From the remaining pool of jurors, each of which has been given a number, the judge will seat the juror by choosing the first 12 numbers, plus a couple of alternatives for a DUI case. The alternatives are selected in case of a sickness or other reason a juror cannot continue in the trial. Maryland law requires that a jury include 12 members.

Benefits of Working with a Local Attorney

The benefits of working with a local Maryland lawyer when deciding whether to take the case to trial include that the local attorney’s knowledge can be crucial, especially in DUI cases. Many DUI cases are referred to bench trials before a judge, and each county is a different jurisdiction, so which judge will hear it can have a big impact on the verdict. An attorney local to that jurisdiction will be familiar with the different judges in that county, will likely have had cases before the judges, so will be able to predict to a certain extent how the judge will respond to the facts and the argument presented in the defendant’s case.

The local and skilled attorney will know whether it is a good idea to try the case in front of that judge or whether it makes sense to try to continue the case and hope they can get a different judge, or take the case to a jury trial. Similarly, juries vary by county, and there are some common characteristics in different counties with different demographics, making them somewhat predictable in how receptive the jury will be to certain arguments or facts.

Call a Maryland Lawyer About Selecting a Jury for a DUI Trial

Obtaining an accomplished lawyer who is knowledgeable about selecting a jury for a Maryland DUI trial is imperative. A seasoned attorney will be well-versed on this process and how a jury will react to arguments and different evidence. If you are facing DUI charges, reach out to a dedicated attorney today.

Maryland DUI Jury Trial