After Jury Selection, the State Decides to Offer a Sweet Deal
We spent most of Monday picking a jury in a DUI case. It was an interesting case, because the police said that our client refused a breath test, but the arrest video said differently. Twice within ten minutes, our client could be clearly heard telling the officer who arrested him that he would "take whatever breathalyzer test you want."
We were surprised that the State wanted to try the case at all, but it got worse for them. Despite their best efforts, multiple members of the jury panel spoke up with doubts about the reliability of police testimony. When we finished the day, we had selected a jury with one person who had been convicted of DUI and two parents of kids who had DUI convictions. (Out of a jury of six members.) This was an ideal defense panel, who would understand that sometimes, the police miss important details (like our client repeatedly saying that he would take any kind of test that they wanted.)
We even found video from the jail of our client getting up and walking over to an officer and asking him something, and being shrugged off. Our client remembered the moment, which was the SECOND time that he asked at the jail for a breath test.
In any event, the prosecutors could see the handwriting on the courtroom walls, and decided to offer a better deal even after the jury was selected. They offered a Reckless Driving charge with a withheld adjudication. That means that there is technically no conviction of the offense. Our client was happy with the result.
Practice area(s): DUI / DWI
Court: Sarasota County Court