Texas Legal Process:
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees all citizens accused of a crime the right to a trial, a right to a lawyer, a right to an impartial jury and the right to know who your accusers are and the charges and evidence of the crime alleged. Jury trials are the most complicated, technical and important functions of the criminal justice system.
The outcome of a trial can be life changing. You need an attorney with real life experience in the courtroom to guide you in identifying the advantages or disadvantages of a trial, giving you meaningful advice about your options and representing you fully at all stages of your case.
A jury trial is a trial where citizens are selected to hear the evidence in a case and determine if the state provided sufficient evidence to find if a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. A Jury can be made up of either 6 or 12 citizens, depending on the degree of your offense. The jury is selected through a process commonly referred to as a jury selection. Qualified members of a panel are chosen by the attorneys on both sides to evaluate the case. It is a jury’s job to listen to all the evidence submitted by the state and defense, listen to the legal arguments by both sides and decide whether the person accused is guilty or not guilty. A jury must return a unanimous decision to find someone guilty of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If a person is found guilty of the offense charged, the Jury or Judge will then decide what type of punishment should be given.
A bench trial is a trial held solely in front of the presiding Judge. The Judge listens to all evidence, makes the same procedural decisions as in a jury trial and decides whether a person is guilty or not guilty. If a Judge finds you guilty, the judge then will assess punishment.
The choice to take a case to a trial is one that should be made with careful consideration after a COMPLETE review of your entire case. The decision to choose between a bench trial or a jury trial can affect the outcome of your case. It is important to have an attorney advocating for you with the knowledge, experience and ability to not only advise you appropriately on your decision to pursue a trial but to develop a trial strategy geared towards success.