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Jury Selection: Does it matter in a DWI case?

No one wants to endure the court system. It’s is confusing, overwhelming and since it is unfamiliar, frightening. That’s where a good attorney, who has experience in trial work, can help.

Trial work is a finely honed skill. Knowing the court system in your area, the expectations and temperament of each judicial officer, and being fully conversant in evidentiary rules is essential for good representation.

What is Voir Dire?

If a case goes to trial, every defendant can decide whether to be tried by the court (a judge) or by a jury. Whomever the defendant chooses will determine that individual’s guilt or innocence. While there are some benefits to each choice, one aspect of pre-trial strategy is jury selection, also called voir dire.

During voir dire, both the prosecutor and the defense attorney question jurors regarding their attitude about the case. Your defense attorney is free to ask the jurors almost any questions: for example, they may ask whether they or a family member has ever been charged with DWI; they may ask about their attitudes toward law enforcement; they may even try to ascertain political affiliation if they think that would be helpful to your case.

Choosing the right jury

Choosing the right jury is a significant aspect of your case. It is your attorney’s only opportunity to address the jury directly. This can create goodwill between the jury and your attorney, as well as create an understanding of you as a person. When a jury sees you as human – faults and all, and as confused as they would be in similar circumstances – it can help them better understand your case.

If you are facing DWI charges, choosing a trial savvy attorney may mean the difference between jail time or acquittal.

 

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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