What Is A Criminal Trial?

You’re facing criminal charges. You’ve been through your preliminary hearings. You didn’t take the deal the district attorney offered. Now, you’re going to trial.

The ultimate goal in a criminal trial is for the jury to find “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed the crimes they are being accused of.

A trial is the government’s opportunity to argue their position on the charges with the hope that they can achieve a guilty verdict and a conviction.

What’s more, the defendant also presents their side of the argument that the charged is innocent. Keep in mind that a trial does not happen very often, seeing that most cases are resolved during preliminary hearings through guilty, no contest, plea bargain, or dismissal outcomes.

What to Expect From a Complete Criminal Trial

There are six phases to the criminal trial:

  • Choose a jury
  • Opening statements
  • Witness testimony and cross-examination
  • Closing arguments
  • Jury instruction
  • Jury deliberation and verdict

Each of these phases has specific objectives for the judge, jury, prosecutor, and defendant. We’ll go through each one now.

Choose a Jury

For most cases, a jury needs to be chosen. There are rare cases where only a judge is present; however, these are not common. When choosing a jury, a pool of potential jurors will be questioned about their personal ideologies and life experiences surrounding the crime being charged.

Opening Statements

After a jury is selected, the opening statements are given at trial during the first “dialogue.” The prosecutor makes their statement on behalf of the government. Then, the defense gives their opening statement.

Witness and Cross-Examination

At the core of every case is what’s called the “case-in-chief” where the prosecution and the defense present their evidence to the jury. During this process, witnesses are called to the stand and walked through the following process:

  • The witness is called to the stand and sworn in
  • Questioned by party that called the witness to stand
  • Opposing party examines the witness on the stand
  • Original calling party has one more opportunity to re-direct examine

Closing Arguments

The government and the defense are given the chance to sum up the points they presented during the witness testimonies and cross-examinations. Each party makes their closing arguments to position their evidence as being the reason for the defense is guilty or not guilty.

Jury Deliberation and Verdict

The judge gives the jury instruction, which the jury then takes to what’s called “deliberation.” During this process, the jury discusses if they will be giving the verdict of guilty, not guilty, or mistrial. A mistrial leads to a new jury selection and the process starts over.

Probst Law Offices: Your Criminal Defense Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

Are you facing criminal charges? It’s time you found legal representation. Don’t wait until it’s too late, and you get a sentence that ruins your life. When you choose Probst Law Offices in Columbus Ohio, we work to get you the best possible outcome for your case. We represent our clients at the highest level, and we take pride in being able to help them through the courts. Before you go into a trial representing yourself, call Probst Law Offices and get representation now!