DUI defendant requests change of venue

When it comes to criminal defense, it is important for defendants to exercise their rights. One important right is that of a fair trial. When having a fair trial becomes a challenge, criminal defendants are able to petition to have their case transferred to a location where they will be better able to have a fair trial.

This is the scenario playing out right now for a trucker convicted in Pennsylvania of causing the death of a sheriff's deputy. The accident in question occurred in 2012 when West Virginia officers chased the man into southwestern Pennsylvania where the crash occurred. The man, who has been charged in West Virginia with drunken driving and leaving the scene of the accident, claims that he is not able to have a fair trial in Monongalia County, the original venue. This week, his attorney requested a change of venue.

As would be expected, the prosecutor handling the case is not keen on the idea of transferring to another venue. According to the prosecutor, the defendant failed to prove that there was a hostile sentiment that would prevent him from having a fair trial in Monongalia County.

Although one tends to think of cases involving juror bias as involving charges of rape or murder, it is possible for juror bias to be present in various criminal cases. Much of this dynamic depends on local media coverage and the defendant's reputation in the local community. Whatever the factors at play, defendants facing such circumstances need to have the advocacy of an experienced attorney to ensure they receive the best defense possible.

Source: Lancaster Online, "Man convicted in Pa. wants W.Va. DUI trial moved," April 3, 2014.

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