DUI cases in Orange County, California are dismissed, others achieve reduced
charges through plea bargains. Some DUIs are tried in front of a judge
and others are tried in front of a jury, especially when the state doesn’t
see eye-to-eye with the defense counsel.
In many jury trials, every member standing on the jury must come to a unanimous
decision on the guilt of the accused in order for them to be found guilty
or innocent of a crime. A hung jury - or deadlocked jury - is a jury that
is unable to agree on a verdict.
Prosecutors Don’t Like ‘Hung Juries’
A hung jury can be a dangerous thing for the prosecution in a case. The
court will seek to elicit a response from the jury before accepting that
they are too split to come to a uniform decision on how to proceed.
In the event of a hung jury, a judge will encourage the jury to continue
their deliberations by providing some tips to help break a deadlock and
come to an agreement. The judge will speak with the jurors to determine
whether a verdict can be reached in a reasonable amount of time, or declare
the entire trial to be a mistrial.
When a Hung Jury Leads To a Mistrial
If a judge declares a mistrial, it will be as if
the trial never happened. It is still unlikely that the prosecution will accept that the trial was
inconclusive, so a mistrial does not immediately mean that the case will
be dismissed and the defendant can walk away.
A mistrial may mean that:
- The prosecution can retry the case with a different jury
- The case will be completely dismissed
- A plea bargain will be offered to avoid further court time
A hung jury means that the prosecution was unable to prove beyond a reasonable
doubt - in the eyes of the jury - that a driver was intoxicated when they
were behind the wheel. When a mistrial is declared, it provides an opportunity
for any charges the defendant may have been facing to be reduced or even
At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., our attorneys work closely
with clients to explain their options and provide advice on whether or
not a case should be taken to trial.
If you have questions about a DUI arrest and your defense,
contact our Orange County DUI defense firm for a free case evaluation.