Being accused of a criminal offense is not a simple process at all. While it may be very frightening and frustrating to face criminal charges, it does not stop with the accusation it starts with. Accused parties are entitled to a fair trial, and it is not always necessary to plead guilty, it is the prosecution’s duty to prove you are guilty of the offenses you are being accused of. In trial, your defense and the prosecution pleads their cases in front of a judge and jury so a verdict is decided before any sentencing takes place. The process can be either fast or long but none of that can be determined ahead of time. While it may take a while, going to trial may actually be in the best interest of a defendant. This is tricky because a trial may also come with more extreme consequences should you be found guilty. This is why it is important to speak with a criminal defense attorney about what the best options may be for you or your loved one.
There is a step-by-step process in a trial, such as:
• Deciding on a jury
• Opening statements from the Defense side and the Prosecution’s side
• Witness testimonies
• Jury instructions given by the judge
• Jury discussion t0 determine a verdict
• Closing statements from the Defense side and the Prosecution’s side
• The jury then announces their verdict decision
Deciding on a jury is a process in itself. Everyone in the community is subjected to being selected. These individuals are interviewed by the Defense and Prosecution and then selected. To open the trial, the prosecution and defense summarize their cases to show the jury their intentions in the trial. They will then bring their witnesses to the stand to help further prove their cases. Opposing counsel will ask questions in hopes of receiving answers that will build their case, and this is called cross-examinations. Once these things are done, the judge will inform the jury of the guidelines they must follow in making their decision. Prosecution and the Defense will then make their closing arguments, which are similar to opening statements, and then the jury will announce the decision they made.
These things can be very difficult to go through alone, so it is best to speak with a skilled Dekalb County attorney about how to prepare for trial so that you receive the best possible outcome.
Thanks to Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and the jury trial process.