Jury Trials in Chatham County

Question: How does a jury trial work in Chatham County?

Answer: In Chatham County, the jury trial will actually probably not happen until six to nine months after your arrest; it’s going to take a while to play out. And in between that six to nine months, that’s when we’ve had our motions, our suppression hearings, our preliminary hearing. But then actually when we get ready to pick a jury, they will select certain people for jury duty. They usually bring in a panel of 40 to 50 everyday citizens. And they bring them in and give us an opportunity to examine them and then choose up to 12 of them to actually hear the case. And I always like to take time to ask each individual juror, “Do you understand that there’s no law against drinking and driving? That admission of alcohol use and then driving does not make a DUI?” And other things: I like to find out about their personal backgrounds, if they’ve had any sort of encounters with any intoxicated people in the past; maybe a friend of theirs has had an accident with a drunk driver. Those are the kind of things that we’ve got to find out before picking a jury that are vital to making sure that you get a fair jury and the best possible outcome.

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