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Does a Judge Have to Accept a DUI Jury Trial Verdict?

Once a DUI jury trial final verdict has been read and published by the foreperson, the judge must generally accept the decision of the jury as to guilt or innocence. If the verdict form is defective, however, the judge is not required to accept the verdict. The judge typically makes the verdict the “order” of the court, meaning that under the legal authority of the court, he or she requires that this order be filed with the clerk of the court and that the verdict be complied with.

An order is a direction or mandate of a judge or a court that is not a judgment or legal opinion (although both may include an order). An order will contain wording from the judge directing that something be done or that there is prohibition against doing some act. By having to accept the decision of guilt or lack of guilt of the jury, the judge must then enter an order confirming or mandating the “guilty” or “not guilty” status of the defendant.

In essence, based totally on the verdict of the jury, the judge is ordering the rest of our society to accept that the defendant is either guilty or not guilty of the crime(s) charged.

Does the judge ask each juror if they reached a verdict independently?

Once the verdict of the jury has been read and published, either the prosecution or defense can ask for the jury to be “polled.” This means each juror will have to individually answer that the verdict that was reached was his or her own independent choice.

This process was put into place to allow jurors who might feel they were forced, pressured or coerced into “going along with the others” to have an avenue to let this be known, and to ensure that the form the foreperson puts forth accurately represents the opinion of the entire jury, not just the foreperson. Although rare, this process will occasionally cause a juror to recant, and the verdict becomes a “mistrial” (meaning that the jurors could not unanimously agree).

Call one of our highly-skilled DUI attorneys and let us show you our many years of successful DUI jury trial experience. You want a local DUI lawyer who performs well under pressure in a courtroom, has decades of solid cross-examination experience, and can build good rapport with a jury.

Further Reading

To learn more about DUI jury trials, take a look at some of our in-depth articles on the subject below: