The Criminal Trial Process
Overview of the Trial Process
The criminal trial process is a complex affair with many different parts. It starts with a jury comprised of several impartial jurors. The defense and the prosecution engage in opening remarks, the introduction of witnesses and evidence, cross-examination of witnesses, and closing remarks, all for the benefit of the jury and its decision-making process. During the deliberation phase where the jurors come together to reach a verdict they decide whether or not the prosecution has done its job of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they deem that the prosecution has not done this, the defendant goes free and is unable to be tried for the same charges ever again.
A trial is, in essence, the government's chance to argue its case in regards to the criminal proceedings at hand. It is during this time that the government will make every intention possible in order to obtain a guilty verdict on behalf of the defendant facing criminal charges. This is also the time when a defendant's defense lawyer can employ the necessary efforts to refute the evidence brought against the defendant they are representing and even offer up their own if available. It is expected that both sides will be provided with the opportunity to present their arguments before the judge and jury prior to a legal decision being ruled. One all the evidence and arguments have been reviewed and considered thoroughly, a decision of guilty or not guilty will be made.
Components of a Complete Criminal Trial
In order for a criminal trial to be considered complete, there are certain components that must exist. Included in these components are the following:
- The selection of a jury
- Making opening statements
- Listening to witness testimonies
- Making any necessary cross-examinations
- Performing the closing arguments
- Instructing the jury
- Jury deliberation leading to an ultimate verdict
The trial process is one of, if not the most high-profile phase of a criminal case in any civil justice process. However, it should be noted that these are far from the norm. More often than not, criminal cases never make it to trial, instead being resolved through please of guilt or no contest, sometimes even through plea bargains or a complete dismissal of a defendant's charges. This being the case, it is highly important that should your case go to trial you have a qualified, experienced legal professional on your side, aiding in your defense.