A bill approved by the Arizona Legislature would end the flat right that misdemeanor DUI defendants now have under state law to a jury trial for a first offense.
The legislator who sponsored the bill called the jury change reasonable because other changes in the bill ease potential penalties for first-time DUI offenders, while a defense attorney called the jury change an "appalling" loss of a protection for defendants.
23. Trial by jury; number of jurors specified by law
Section 23. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate. Juries in criminal cases in which a sentence of death or imprisonment for thirty years or more is authorized by law shall consist of twelve persons. In all criminal cases the unanimous consent of the jurors shall be necessary to render a verdict. In all other cases, the number of jurors, not less than six, and the number required to render a verdict, shall be specified by law.
24. Rights of accused in criminal prosecutions
Section 24. In criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to ... have a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county in which the offense is alleged to have been committed, ....