Arizona to Eliminate Peremptory Challenges in Jury Trials

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Aug 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Arizona Supreme Court recently announced a major rules change which will have a huge impact on criminal defense lawyers and individuals who are charged with crimes and participating in a jury trial.  Specifically, and effective January 1, 2022, peremptory challenges of individuals during jury selection will be eliminated. Arizona will be the first state in the country to eliminate peremptory challenges entirely during jury selection

What is a Peremptory Challenge?

In it's simplest terms, a peremptory challenge or "strike" is a lawyer's objection to a proposed juror which is made without needing to give a reason.  Although a peremptory challenge cannot be used to strike people for reasons such as race, gender or ethnicity, the practice is widely used by attorneys to eliminate people from a jury panel who they view as unfavorable or to structure a jury who might be supportive other position.  

During the "void dire," or jury selection process, prospective jurors are asked a number of questions to determine whether:

  • they qualify as jurors
  • can serve on a jury without substantial hardship
  • can be fair and impartial

Usually, someone who doesn't qualify as a potential juror, who would endure hardship by serving as a juror or who cannot be fair and impartial will be automatically eliminated from serving as a juror "for cause."   A specific number of other potential jurors can be removed through the use of peremptory challenges.

The Current Rules Concerning Peremptory Challenges in Arizona Criminal Trials:

Jury selection in Arizona criminal cases is governed by Rule 18.5 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure.  With respect to challenges, fter examining the prospective jurors and completing all challenges for cause, the parties must exercise their peremptory challenges on the list of prospective jurors by alternating strikes, beginning with the prosecutor, until the peremptory challenges are exhausted or a party elects not to exercise further challenges.  The number of peremptory challenges permitted in Arizona criminal jury trials is as follows:

  • 10, if the offense charged is punishable by death
  • 6, in cases which are tried in superior court
  • 2, in cases which are tried in city and justice courts

The Effect of Eliminating Peremptory Challenges in Arizona:

As an attorney who exclusively practices Criminal and DUI Defense and has conducted numerous jury trials throughout the greater Phoenix area, I anticipate that the elimination of peremptory challenges will have a significant impact on individuals who are charged with and are being tried for crimes they are alleged to have committed.  Undoubtedly, the removal of jurors for cause based on their lack of qualifications, hardship and bias does help to pick an appropriate jury.  However, peremptory challenges allow lawyers to eliminate individuals from jury service when they are inconsistent in the responses during the selection process, may not be impartial due to their life experience or occupation or are identified as having a position unfavorable to our clients.  Certainly, this will present a major hurdle to people who are hoping to be found Not Guilty after being charged with and tried for a criminal offense.


If you, a family member or friend has been arrested for a DUI or Criminal offense in Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix or any other city within Maricopa or Pinal Counties, it is important that you immediately begin working with a qualified attorney who can effectively represent you in the court of law and take necessary steps to protect your freedom and future.  Attorney Raymond Kimble is a former police officer, DUI and felony prosecutor and has represented thousands of people charged with DUI and Criminal offenses in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix and other cities throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties over the last twenty years. Ray Kimble  will have a clear understanding of all the circumstances in your case, along with the knowledge, skill and experience to protect your freedom and achieve the best possible outcome for you.

About the Author

Raymond Kimble

About Raymond Kimble Attorney Raymond Kimble has built his law practice on the philosophy that each client deserves consistent individual attention. Ray realizes that being charged with a DUI or criminal offense is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. A DUI, felony or misdemeanor arrest can involve prison or jail time, probation, huge fines and a criminal record. Consequently, people who face DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges in Arizona are placed at risk of losing employment or being barred from future job opportunities. Ray works to lessen his client's anxiety by ensuring that they have direct access to him at all times and can reach him by e-mail, cell phone or text during normal business hours as well as nights or weekends if they have a pressing question or concern. Raymond Kimble is a dedicated DUI and criminal defense lawyer who has built a reputation of working tirelessly to protect his client's constitutional rights, their future and liberty. Ray strives to provide the strongest defense possible for each client despite the obstacles they may face. Put Experience to Work for You Raymond Kimble's twenty years of experience with respect to DUI, misdemeanor and felony criminal charges extends well beyond law school where he graduated within the top ten percent of his class. Ray was a police officer for ten years prior to becoming an attorney. As a police officer, Ray was trained in both DUI and criminal investigation and his personal involvement in criminal cases while a police officer certainly gives him a unique perspective when reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses and challenging physical evidence. Ray often identifies legal issues or mistakes made by police during an investigation through his own personal experience as a patrol officer. In addition to his police experience, Raymond Kimble worked as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he was responsible for prosecuting DUI, felony and misdemeanor crimes. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ray conducted a number of jury trials and hearings related to the admissibility of evidence. Through his involvement with these cases as a prosecutor, Ray learned how to properly evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a DUI, misdemeanor or felony charge and became skilled in jury selection, argument, and the direct and cross examination of both civilian witnesses, experts and police officers. Of course, Raymond Kimble's expertise extends beyond his experience as a police officer and prosecutor. Specifically, Ray has successfully represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years throughout Maricopa County, Arizona. To best serve his Clients, Raymond remains current on changes in the law as well as police tactics by regularly attending seminars focused on defending criminal charges and reading the latest articles and books related to DUI and criminal defense. Ray also regularly writes criminal defense blogs and posts so that people faced with a criminal charge are better informed about their rights.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment