Understanding your right to a jury trial
If you are charged with a crime, your right to have a jury decide whether or not you are guilty is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees that “The trial for all crimes shall be by jury.” The Sixth Amendment also recognizes the right to a jury trial and adds that jurors must be “impartial” and from “the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.”
Is a jury trial right for your particular case?
Most criminal cases do not proceed to trial and are resolved in the pre-trial phase. But depending on the facts of your case, getting a jury of your peers to consider the charge against you could mean the difference between a guilty or a not guilty verdict. Many factors must be considered when deciding to proceed to a jury trial. Such factors include the specific charge, the evidence and the possible penalties.
It is also crucial that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you, whether your case goes to trial or not. Not every lawyer has extensive trial experience, and it’s important to have a lawyer who can prepare your case for trial, even if your case is ultimately resolved in the pre-trial phase. Making your case trial-ready is the surest way to position you for the best possible outcome.
How appealing to a jury could help
Emotion is one of the biggest reasons to seek a jury trial. Jurors are human and may respond to an emotional appeal. With the standard of proof being so high in criminal law cases, feelings of sympathy for the defendant or suspicion of the prosecution’s case may make a difference in the jury’s thinking. A major benefit of a jury trial is the opportunity to tell the jury your side of the story, rather than let the prosecution have the only say.
Again, most criminal cases do not go to trial, but even the possibility of a jury trial could present certain advantages in your case. That is why you should have a lawyer who can make your case trial-ready.
The Law Office of Scott N. Richardson advises and represents clients throughout Palm Beach County.