Voir dire is just a fancy name for jury selection, which is a critical component of any jury trial. Those selected through the voir dire process will ultimately decide your fate in relation to your trial, making it difficult to overstate its importance. You do not have to face criminal charges alone; consult with an experienced Williamson County criminal defense lawyer today.
The voir dire process begins with county residents who are called for jury duty. All of those called to the specific jury duty in question are assigned a number, and when a prospective juror’s number is called, he or she becomes part of the jury pool. Form here, both the prosecution and the defense are provided with basic information about each member of the jury pool, including:
The prospective juror’s name
The prospective juror’s age
The prospective juror’s marital status
The prospective juror’s occupation
The information may include whether or not the prospective jurors have had any involvement with lawsuits in the past. Ultimately, both your defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney are trying to get a general sense of who the jurors are and any potential biases or conflicts of interest they could potentially bring with them into the trial.
Once the jury pool is established, the judge will provide a short introduction and give an overview of what is to come before yielding the floor to the prosecuting and defense attorneys. Each side is typically allowed a specific amount of time to ask general questions of the jury pool, which usually amount to yes/no questions. For example, the defense attorney may ask a yes/no question of the entire jury pool, and all of those answering yes will be requested to raise their jury numbers in response. From here, the attorneys are usually allowed to ask follow-up questions that may help them get a better feel for the juror in question (within certain legal parameters).
It is common – but misleading – to say that a juror was chosen. It is more accurate to say that the juror was not stricken from the jury. Jurors may be struck from the jury in relation to challenge for cause, which is unlimited. Challenges for cause are based on legal reasons why specific prospective jurors are unfit or unable to serve, and if the judge agrees with the legal basis for the challenge, it holds.
Peremptory challenges, on the other hand, are limited. Felony trials are allowed ten peremptory challenges per side, and misdemeanor trials are allowed 3 per side. Peremptory strikes can be based on anything (including a whim), and the reason need not be provided. A peremptory strike, however, cannot be discriminatory in nature (such as being predicated on race or gender).
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Williamson County Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Williamson County, Texas, is a resourceful criminal defense lawyer whose practice is dedicated to protecting the legal rights of clients like you. For more information about how we can help, please do not wait to contact us or call at 254-501-4040 today.