Selecting a Jury for a Maryland DUI Trial

In criminal cases, individuals have the right to choose if they want a bench trial (a trial whose outcome is selected by the judge) or a jury trial (a trial where one’s peers select the outcome). In the case that an individual confers with their attorney and decides that they want a trial by jury, they must then begin the process of selecting a jury for a Maryland DUI trial. This process can be difficult and involved which is why you may benefit from the assistance of a skilled DUI lawyer. Call an attorney today to schedule a consultation.

Selection Process for Jury Members

Selecting a jury for a Maryland DUI trial involves the voir dire process which takes place with all the jurors. A pool consists of 35 people. Everyone in the pool comes into the room. They are sworn and are asked to answer a number of questions. Some questions are asked by the judge. These are usually blanket questions asked of all the potential jurors.

Some people have been affected by drinking and driving, be it that they were charged and got a DUI years ago. Maybe a family member, best friend, or neighbor was injured or killed by a drunk driver. There are a number of reasons that jurors may believe that they are not good for the jury. That is why you have such a large pool and a voir dire process certainly goes through a window of time.

The Voir Dire Process

When selecting a jury for a Maryland DUI trial, lawyers may have 20-30 questions that they ask depending on what type of case it is. They may want to know a little bit more about who these people are, such as their age, where they live, their job, and their spouse’s job. If the juror has any family that is a police officer, or if the juror was ever involved in law enforcement or the federal government, it is important to get all of those details.

Voir dire is essential. Lawyers try to read body language and eye contact, but it is a very detailed process. They certainly do not go into this lightly. The client may have a feeling about certain people as well, so it is a good idea to let them play a role as well.

Motions to Dismiss

For the purposes of the state of Maryland, a person can file a motion to dismiss, but it is not going to be considered. A person will need to make what is called a motion for judgment of acquittal after the state presents their case, for insufficient facts or missing elements that are necessary.

Now in that particular situation, it goes to what is called the light most favorable to the state, and unless there is a glaring defect, the judge will allow the case to continue. But as far as a motion to dismiss, there are very few reasons to dismiss a case except for maybe jurisdiction issues.

The Benefit of an Experienced Maryland DUI Attorney

The benefits of working with a local Maryland DUI lawyer when deciding on whether to take a case to trial is that every courtroom is different. A local DUI attorney is familiar with all of the nuances of a DUI trial. There are judges that are very particular. A lawyer who has been in front of the judges and juries know what they listen for as well as what works and what does not work. Furthermore, a more seasoned attorney will have experience selecting a jury for a Maryland DUI trial which could benefit your case. Speak with a skilled legal advocate today and know that you are in capable hands.