Can Tampa DUI Jurors Refuse to Follow the Law?

You may get arrested for talking about this…

If you were guilty of a DUI, could a juror still choose to vote “Not Guilty?”

The answer may surprise you.

For example, let’s say that you’re out in the SoHo area with friends, and as you’re driving home, you decide, “You know what, I might not be safe to drive. I better get off the road.”

You pull into a nearby 24*hour Wal*Mart, and then call a friend.

“Hey Dave, I think I’ve had too much to drink and shouldn’t drive home. Would you mind coming to pick me up?”

“No problem. I’ll be there in about 20 minutes.”

You hang up the phone and wait for Dave to arrive.

Since it’s Florida, it’s hot, so you leave the car’s A/C running so you don’t sweat to death in the car.

You have absolutely NO intention of driving anywhere, you’re just going to wait for Dave.

But 5 minutes later, there’s a knock at the window, and when you look up, you’re face to face with a police officer.

“I’m Ofc. Brandon with the Tampa DUI unit. Would you mind stepping out of the car?”

You explain that you’re not driving anywhere, but despite your protests, the DUI officer has you perform SFST’s (Standardized Field Sobriety Tests), and since you’re not safe to drive, you fail them miserably.

By the time Dave arrives, you’ve been handcuffed and arrested for DUI.

TECHNICALLY, you’re guilty of a DUI, because a DUI doesn’t require that you’re driving. You can be in “actual physical control” of a car while intoxicated, and still commit the crime of DUI.

If you went to trial and the jurors followed the law, they would have to vote “Guilty,” even though you weren’t going to drive anywhere.

But do they have to follow the law?

Could they look at a situation like yours and say, “Sure, it technically meets all the elements of a DUI, but we think you were doing the right thing, so we’re going to vote ‘Not Guilty'”?

The answer is, “It depends.”

In this episode of Radiolab’s podcast, they discuss the issue of “Jury Nullification” and whether or not jurors are obligated to vote “Guilty,” even though their conscience tells them to vote “Not Guilty.”

To listen, go to Radiolab’s podcast page:

About The Author

Elliott Wilcox

Elliott Wilcox exclusively limits his trial practice to defending drivers accused of DUI, and accepts a limited number of clients each month to guarantee he can invest enough time on your case. If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI, contact Elliott today: (855) THE-DUI-GUY (855-843-3844)