Posted on: 13 October 2015
If you are facing criminal charges and have the option to have a judge hear and settle the case or a jury, your criminal defense lawyer might recommend choosing a jury trial. There are several key benefits offered through jury trials, which is why you may want to choose a jury trial over one settled by a judge alone.
Jurors work on emotions
If your case is presented in front of a judge, he or she will base the decision on the law alone. This is what judges do, and they generally keep their emotions out of cases. Juries are different, though. They tend to work highly on emotions, and this offers better outcomes in some criminal cases.
When a lawyer can present the evidence in a way that strikes sympathy with the jurors, they might be more apt to vote not guilty against the defendant. For example, if your attorney can portray you as a kind, compassionate person, the jurors may feel sorry for you that you are on trial, and this may work towards your benefit.
Juries are made up of 12 individuals
A jury is typically made up of 12 people, and each of these individuals will hear the case and have a right to vote guilty or not guilty. If all 12 jurors cannot reach a unanimous decision, the case will end in a mistrial. The benefit of this is that the prosecution may decide to drop the case. The only other option is for the prosecution to retry the entire case again, which can be a very time-consuming and expensive process.
Your attorney has a say in jurors
The other key thing to realize is that your attorney has a say in who the jurors are. This occurs through the process known as "Voir Dire." This process involves interviewing a lot of prospective jurors and choosing ones that the attorney feels would be beneficial for your trial. It also involves weeding out ones that would not be beneficial for you.
For example, if you are charged with burglary, your attorney would not want any jurors that have been burglarized in the past. These individuals may have harsh feelings towards anyone that steals from another person.
If your attorney discusses this issue with you, it is always best to take the advice he or she gives you. There are times when jury trials are better, but there are also times when trials before a judge are better. To learn more, contact a criminal defense lawyer, like those at Kalasnik Law Office, for advice.Share