JONATHAN BURGE

Attorney at Law

Jury Trials

 

A lot of people have never been in trouble before.  Therefore they have no idea what to expect after being arrested for the first time. 

The trial process you will have to go through is considerably different, depending on whether or not your case involves a jury or bench trial.

Bench (judge only) Trials

In some cases, you simply donít have the right to a jury trial.  Generally, these are cases where there is no possibility of you going to jail for over 30 days.  These types of criminal offenses are called petty misdemeanors.  Some examples of these types of crimes are:

  • Shoplifting

  • DUI

  •  Prostitution

  • Harassment 

  •  Disorderly conduct

  • Some restraining order violations.

In a non-jury trial, called a bench trial, the judge is the sole fact finder.  The judge decides the facts and the law, and decides whether you are guilty or not guilty.

Jury Trial

If it is possible for you to go to jail for over six months you have a State and Federal Constitutional right to a jury trial.  This includes all felonies and full misdemeanors such as Assault or Abuse of a Household Member.

A jury consists of twelve persons from the community.  In the jury trial, the jury is the judge of the facts and decides whether you are guilty or not guilty.  All twelve must vote for guilty or not guilty to have a verdict.  If they canít all agree, a hung jury is declared and you may have to be re-tried by another jury.

In most cases, a jury trial is preferred to bench trials.  That is because twelve people, not one judge, have to find you guilty in order to convict you. 

 

 

Home ] Up ] DUI ] Household Abuse ] Misdemeanors ] Felonies ] Federal Crimes ] Investigation ] Our Staff ] Links ] Military ]