You may hear the term jury deadlocked, or hung jury in today’s media culture. But what does it really mean in a DUI case. In your standard Arizona DUI jury trial there are 6 members of the jury. To reach a decision the verdict must be unanimous, meaning in order to find the defendant guilty or not guilty all members of the jury panel must agree.
However there are times when this will not happen. Some of the jurors will reach different decisions regarding the facts, witnesses, and legal issues in a DUI case. When that happens the jury becomes deadlocked, or “hung.” Generally when that happens there are a couple of things that may occur.
Initially the Judge will always ask the jury to go back and try and reach a decision. The Judge will inquire as to what the hold up is, and if the jurors have any questions that they need further clarification on, the Judge can have a conversation with the attorneys. Then the Judge will ask if the jurors think they can reach a decision. If the jury thinks they can reach a verdict then the Judge will usually tell the jury to go back and try to work out any issues that may exist.
If the jury says they cannot reach a unanimous decision and they are deadlocked, that means the case will end in a mistrial. A mistrial means a decision cannot be rendered, and the entire case would start over. There is no penalty or any repercussions for the jury and they are released and free to talk about the case.
Depending on the facts of the case, and the defendants criminal history the case may or may not be retried. Usually Prosecutors will look at the facts, and many times the vote of the jurors in the first trial. If the vote was 5-1 to convict, they will most likely want to retry the case. If it was the opposite, a better plea offer will most likely be offered.
Your DUI lawyer and you will also be able to make future decisions based on how well the first trial went as well.
The vast majority of criminal cases in Arizona require an aggressive Arizona criminal defense attorney on your side. Your choice of attorney can make all the difference in the world. If you or someone you know is facing an Arizona criminal charge, CONTACT US today! We will fight hard to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome on your case.