During Jury Selection, a Potential Juror May Be Disqualified If They Have a Previous Felony Conviction
Interviewer: For a DUI case, would it matter if a juror has had a DUI before?
Aaron: One of the questions that most courts will ask in the procedure during jury selection is if anybody has been convicted of a crime. A lot of times people just want to let the court know privately. Most of the time, people will just let us know that they have a prior conviction for some type of a crime, whether it be a felony or a misdemeanor. Usually a felony conviction will result in someone not being eligible for jury duty at least while they’re on felony probation.
In Marin County, the DAs office keeps records of people who are on jury duty. They run rap sheets, they have information on has what type of prior conviction, and who has served on what type jury. They have a record of whether the jury was hung or if there was a conviction in the case. That’s information that any attorney who is doing a jury trial in Marin County should ask the prosecution for as part of their pretrial motions.
A lot of them don’t know to ask and they don’t end up getting it. But that information does exist. If you don’t have that necessarily, the DA’s offices don’t necessarily keep track of that in a lot of other counties.
DUI Case History in Sonoma County
Interviewer: I want to see if you have handled some specific cases in both Marin County and Sonoma County that relate to DUI and that you can share.
Aaron: People always think that, “I got a DUI, there’s no way to win it and there’s nothing I can do.” I had a recent Sonoma County case where my client was twice the legal limit. I brought a motion to suppress the evidence and win it in court. The police officer did not have sufficient cause to do a DUI investigation and we were able to have all the evidence thrown out.
Eventually, the DA dismissed the case. We also won the case at the Department of Motor Vehicles so the client’s license was saved. He was not put on probation, he does not have a record, and he had no points added to his driving record. I had a very happy client and a great outcome. That’s’ just an example of how a case can come out in a very positive way.
By Aaron Bortel
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