Criminal Defense Lawyer
Ok, so you have been accused of a crime you may or may not have committed and pleading guilty is the furthest thing away from your mind at this time. If you or someone you know has been wrongfully accused or if you do not want to plead guilty, you will be taking your case to trial. When you are not an attorney, the courtroom may not be your favorite place. However, it is important to know what goes on in trial so that you are well aware of the process you have signed up for.
While you cannot always determine the time-span of your trial, there are certain steps that will allow you to know how close you are to the end. There are six practical steps in a trial:
- Jury selection
- Opening Statements by Defense and Prosecution
- Witness Testimony
- The Closing Arguments
- Jury Instructions Are Given
- Jury Discussion and Verdict Announcement
Several of people in the community are asked to appear in court for “Jury Duty”. This is when a few people are interviewed and asked very precise questions by the defense and prosecution. The defense is due a fair trial so the extensive interviews are to pick out those that may be prejudice or are in no way fit to sit as a juror.
Opening Statements by Defense and Prosecution
At this time, the legal counsel of both involved parties summarize their version of the facts of the case as to explain to the jury the direction of the case and what exactly has gone on.
Witnesses are cross-examined by opposing counsel. This is designed to allow the opposing side to ask you questions that will somehow benefit their argument or discredit the other parties’ argument. This does not mean that the witness is guilty, but that there is some information that the witness provides that will change or confirm the facts of the case.
Once all of the evidence is presented, and all reasonable questions are asked and answered by the witnesses, the closing argument gives the defense and the prosecution the time to sum up the case. Both sides will then take what occurred in the trial, and their opening statement and in a sense plead their case for the last time.
Jury Instructions Are Given
This is when the judge explains to the jury what it is they must do with the information that they have gathered. There are legal guidelines that must be followed and this is the time the jury is informed of what they are.
There is no say exactly how long this part may take; in some cases the evidence is so clear it takes a short time for a jury to make a final decision or verdict. In other cases it can take days.
This is not something that you will want to go through alone. No matter your charge, be sure to speak with a courtroom experienced criminal defense attorney, like a Dekalb County attorney, that understands how a trial works, and will be able to fight for you while you go through it.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense.