If you have been charged with any sort of crime your stress levels are probably sky-high. There is a lot to think about and a lot of different variables that will come into play. The legal procedures when it comes to criminal trials can be overwhelming—there is an abundance of information to understand. If you’re wondering what exactly to expect in a criminal trial, keep reading.
Criminal Trial Overview
Whether you think your offense is serious or not, you’re going to want to have a respectable Beaverton criminal defense attorney that will prioritize your needs. If you’ve been accused of a crime, your first thought should be about who will represent you and get the best outcome for you.
Judge or Jury
Depending on the seriousness of your crime, you’re looking at either a judge or jury trial. Jury trials more often than not are going to be criminal trials. There are cases where the trial will be decided upon by judge. Either way, the defense has the right to decide—the defense has the right to trial by jury. There are pros and cons either way.
Once all evidence has been submitted and the decision has been made about judge or jury, then the rest of the trial procedures will take place.
This is where the prosecution and the defense make their opening statements, which are basically an outline of the case each side is going to try to prove. Since everyone really listens in on these statements, both sides are careful not to make any promises about what they are going to deliver to the judge or jury. Oftentimes the defense will hold off on their opening statement until it is time to present their case.
After the opening statements, it is the prosecution that gets the first word. Witnesses will be brought up and the prosecution will have a chance at a direct examination. Questions asked will be thorough and will lead the judge or jury to a particular side the prosecution is aiming for.
The first instance of cross examination will come from the defense. These questions will try to sway the judge or jury away from what the prosecution’s case is.
When it comes to your Beaverton criminal defense attorney’s presentation of your case, there is the chance that you may not be called to testify. You have the constitutional right to remain silent. There are even times where a defense attorney will not present evidence if they believe that the prosecution didn’t have enough evidence to prove your guilt. Keep in mind that when it comes to conviction, “Oregon only incarcerates approximately 25% of its convicted felons, ranking it 39th lowest amongst the 50 states.” Your lawyer will ask witnesses questions that will paint you in a better light than what the prosecution has but will typically have less evidence to do so than the prosecution.
Similar to the first cross examination, this will be where the prosecution gets to ask questions battling what the defense has argued in their case.
The final step to the main part of the trial, each side will present closing arguments. The prosecution goes first, but also gets the last word if they wish to rebut something the defense said for their closing statement. Closing statements are very important because they give guidance to the jury as to why and how the evidence presented matters to the case.
After these steps, the trial for that day will end. Judge and juries will think through the evidence they’ve been presented with and been witnesses to. From there, it is the hope that your defense attorney has done all they can do to clear your name.