Being accused of a criminal offense, no matter how big or small, is a serious matter. While it is easy to assume the moment you are accused of or arrested for a crime, you are going to spend time in jail, every accusation and arrest has a process that follows. Every criminal case does not go to trial, but many do. For this reason you should know how a trial process goes and hire a skilled criminal lawyer, like a Decatur criminal lawyer, to assist you in your case. If you or anyone you know has been charged with a criminal offense, it is wise to educate yourself of the law so that you know what to prepare yourself for in the long run.
Some cases are handled swiftly, while others can continue for months and even years. This time cannot be determined too much ahead of time. However, once you reach the trial mark, there is a better idea of where the finish line lies. After so much time has passed, you finally get to go to trial, but even the trial has a process of its own.
There are 7 steps in the trial process:
1. Selecting a jury for trial.
2. The opening statements given by both the defense team and the prosecution.
3. Any witness (including expert witness) testimonies.
4. The closing statements given by the defense and the prosecution.
5. The judge then gives the jury their directions.
6. The jury deliberates and discusses the verdict.
7. The jury announces the verdict.
While it is nerve wracking not knowing what happens next, sentencing does not happen during trial. You will return to the court for sentencing.
Selecting a jury for trial includes interviewing individuals of the community. The defense and the prosecution interview these individuals to ensure they are not biased or prejudice as it relates to the details of the case. When the defense and prosecution give their opening statements, they are basically explaining why they are there, what the case is about, and what to expect during trial.
To assist in pleading their cases, the defense and prosecution brings up witnesses that will defend whatever their argument may be. They ask specific questions hoping their answers support their claims.
Much like opening statements, closing arguments sum up both the defense and prosecution’s cases before the jury can deliberate. The judge will then tell the jury what they must and must not do with the material they received during the trial. They will then take the time to decide whether the defendant is innocent or guilty of the accusations based on the evidence. This can take minutes or days. Once they return to the courtroom, they will announce what they decided.
Thanks to The Lynch Law Group for their insight into what the criminal trial process looks like.