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Criminal defense basics: What happens during a jury trial?

People facing a criminal charge must determine how they are going handle the case. This isn't always easy to decide. Despite the challenges, defendants often must make their choice quickly and then develop a strategy with the help of an attorney.

Typically, there are three options for defendants:

  • Plea deal: A deal is worked out between the prosecution and the defense for a resolution of the case.
  • Jury trial: A panel of jurors hears each side's arguments and reaches a verdict.
  • Bench trial: A judge listens to both sides before making a decision.

Many criminal cases are resolved through the plea arrangement process. When a defendant asserts their innocence, they won't be able to use this method. In this case, a trial becomes necessary. The majority of criminal trials are heard by a jury.

Who are the jurors?

Members of the jury are the defendant's peers. This doesn't mean they are from the same socioeconomic status. It only means they are members of the same community. The jury may be made up of a mixture of men and women with diverse backgrounds. The jury selection process helps to make this possible.

What do they consider?

The jurors can only consider what they are told and shown during the trial. They can't pay attention to what is being reported in the media. They also can't consider anything if it isn't introduced in court. This means that if the prosecution neglects to bring up a vital point in the case, the jurors must not use that point even if it was reported in the local newspaper.

During the trial, the judge may decide that something must not be considered. This instruction is important since there is a legal basis for the judge's decision.

How do they come to a decision?

The jurors must weigh the evidence to determine whether a person is guilty of a criminal act or not. This is known as deliberation. The panel of individuals must be sure, beyond a reasonable doubt, about a conviction if this is the direction in which they are leaning.

It is difficult to put your fate in the hands of the jury. Get help with a defense that you feel truly represents your side of the matter, trusting an esteemed legal advocate to guide you.

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