There are now dozens of television shows related to criminal defense trials. However, like many things on television networks, the picture they present is slightly skewed. Many important steps are missed, and therefore if you are accused of a crime, the whole process will seem very different. Suddenly, knowing every step in the process is important to keeping your sanity. The following is a rough outline of the criminal trial process. Your attorney will help guide you through these steps and help you understand the method by which to defend yourself.
First, a judge and jury must be chosen. Your sentence will greatly depend on your judge and jury. You can have some say in this matter. The next step is confirming the validity of evidence. Use of evidence must be approved before it is presented in court.
A court date will then be set. On that first court date, opening statements will be made by both the prosecution and defense attorneys. Following the statements, the prosecution will begin their case. They will argue their beliefs, present evidence, and question witnesses. The defense lawyer will then be allowed to cross-examine these witnesses. When the prosecution is satisfied, they will rest their case.
The defense will then have a chance to make their case. This will unfold in the same way as the prosecution’s process. Closing arguments will then be made by the prosecution and then the defense.
After these arguments, the prosecution will have one last chance for rebuttal.
The jury will then receive instructions on their deliberation. Deliberation will take place until the jury decides on a sentence. At this point, post-trial motions will be put into place. The sentence will be read in court.
For more information regarding criminal defense trials and the legal rights of individuals who have been charged, visit the website of the San Jose criminal defense attorney of the Jensen law office.