Right now I’m listening to a speaker talking about Felony DWI Jury Selection, and really Felony DWI’s in general.
Felony DWI’s are a much different beast than the misdemeanor DWI. This is because of:
a) The punishment range. Felony DWIs (usually DWI 3rds or higher) have punishment ranges from 2-10 years in prison.
b) The jury knows about your 2 priors
One of the suggestions given by the speaker is that you get your client tested immediately for substance abuse. This is as a precaution for later, even if you are going to fight the case. Just in case your client is convicted, this will assist in gaining probation after the trial.
One of the benefits to the jury knowing about the 2 priors, is that you get to discuss this with them during jury selection. Plus, if they say that they cannot be fair in the case, and automatically assume that if your client did "it" 2 times before, he probably did it this time, they will be booted off the jury. This can be a huge advantage, in that you are really getting off many of the people that would be very State’s oriented.
-Know the terrain: So true, you must know the nuances of the counties. Some counties are significantly tougher on punishment. This is important to know when advising your client of whether or not to take a plea deal. For instance, if you are in a county that routinely gives large prison sentences for Felony DWI’s, an offer of probation might not be too bad of a deal. The truth is, in the end, it is always up to the client of whether or not to go trial, however, they can only make informed decisions with attorneys who know the local terrain.