Peremptory Challenge Law and Legal Definition

A peremptory challenge is the right of the plaintiff and the defendant in a jury trial to have a juror dismissed before trial without stating a reason. This challenge is distinguished from a "challenge for cause" in which a reason must be stated as to why the juror might not be impartial. The number of state law, which varies, determines the number of peremptory challenges for each side, which differs based on the number of parties to a case, and whether it is a civil or criminal trial.

A state's privilege to strike individual jurors through peremptory challenges, is subject to the commands of the Equal Protection Clause. Although a prosecutor ordinarily is entitled to exercise permitted peremptory challenges "for any reason at all, as long as that reason is related to his view concerning the outcome" of the case to be tried, the Equal Protection Clause forbids the prosecutor to challenge potential jurors solely on account of their race or on the assumption that black jurors as a group will be unable impartially to consider the State's case against a black defendant.