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Jury Trial or Bench Trial

Jury Trial or Bench Trial

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Jury Trial: In felony cases, a “Jury Trial” is comprised of 8 jurors (your peers in the community) who will determine whether you are “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”, “not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”, or whether they are “hung” and cannot render a unanimous verdict. If the jury “hangs”, the state can: move to dismiss the charges; negotiate a new plea agreement with defense counsel; or they can retry the Defendant on the exact same charges as many times as they want until a verdict is rendered one way or the other. If your case involves a possibility of receiving 30 years or more in prison, then you will be entitled to a 12 member jury. If the jury does return a guilty verdict on one or more of the charges, then the judge will set the case over for a Sentencing date. It is important to remember that when the jury comes back with a guilty verdict, the judge will take you into custody immediately. You will then remain in custody for 30 days while the “Presentence Report” is prepared and then “Sentencing” will occur or the case will be set over to a Mitigation Hearing. (see Plea Agreements / Presentence Report / Sentencing).

Bench Trial: You also have a right to do what is known as a “Bench Trial”, which is a trial directly to the judge. Normally, on felony cases you do not want to do this, unless your case has specific facts which may tend to anger a jury. Most judges have been around for a period of time where almost nothing will anger them or inflame their passions to a point which would prejudice you. They normally will view the law impartially and judge the facts in the same manner. In addition, they will not give an officer as much credibility as a jury would. They have seen the good officers along with the bad. Once again, it is important that you have an experienced and competent defense attorney to conduct your trial (i.e., DM Cantor).If the judge does return a guilty verdict on one or more of the charges, then he will set the case over for a “Sentencing” date. It is important to remember that when the judge comes back with a guilty verdict, he will take you into custody immediately. You will then remain in custody for 30 days while the “Presentence Report” (see Plea Agreements / Presentence Report / Sentencing) is prepared and then Sentencing will occur or the case will be set over to a Mitigation Hearing.

Contact DM Cantor and speak to an attorney about Jury Trials or Bench Trials.

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