People who come to us facing criminal charges for the first or fiftieth time often express the same sentiment. The all feel, justifiably so, that the criminal justice system is biased against them since they have been labelled a defendant. One of the most common quotes from clients is “I thought I was innocent until proven guilty.” Being charged with a crime often results in people feeling that the system does not follow its own cardinal rule. Prosecutors and judges often act as if people charged with crimes are presumed guilty, and that the defense should present evidence showing innocence, instead of the other way around. Yet when the time for a jury trial comes around, a skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer can ensure that the State is held to its burden of proving you guilty beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.
The threat of a jury trial can be all you need in order to get your case resolved in a favorable manner. Many times, prosecutors are overwhelmed and nonchalant regarding the cases that come before them. Even though the law requires them to have the burden of proof, they often just rubber stamp the claims of police and people labelled as “victims.” An experienced defense lawyer knows that these prosecutors are often unprepared to litigate a full blown trial and will often fold to the pressure of being stuck in a trial instead of working on their pile of cases.What is a Jury Trial
If you are considering taking your case to trial, it is important to understand what a jury trial consists of. Prior to any trial, the lawyers on a case will conduct extensive discovery in preparation for a trial. That preparation may consist of taking depositions of the various witnesses, conduction an independent investigation of the facts and discussing the facts of the case with the client. The defense lawyer will then often engage in negotiations with the prosecution to attempt to resolve the case prior to a trial. If the parties cannot agree on a negotiated resolution to the case, then the charges will often proceed to a full blown trial.
At a trial, the prosecution has the burden to present evidence to a jury selected from a pool of between 25-100 potential jurors. Once the six jurors who will preside over the case have been selected, the prosecutors must present witnesses and evidence in order to prove the charges. The defense is not required to prove your innocence and in some cases can even choose to do nothing at all during a trial. An experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer with extensive trial experience will know when to be proactive and present evidence in your defense and when to sit back and let the prosecutors mess up their own case.
Following the presentation of evidence, the lawyers on the case are permitted to make closing statements. These closing statements are meant to allow the parties to argue about how the facts of the case apply to the law and how the jury should interpret the facts presented to them. Closing argument is an important part of the case, and you should ensure that the lawyer trying your case is charismatic enough to capture the attention of the jurors to convincingly make your case. Following the arguments, the jury will retire to come to a verdict. Upon an acquittal, the defendant will be set free, and upon a conviction, the case will proceed to sentencing where the judge will lay down a sentence.Speak to Our Trial Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law have extensive trial experience that can help ensure you achieve the best results on your case. Don’t hire a lawyer who will just talk you into a plea deal. Retain a legal team that will fight for your best interests. Call today for a consultation at 727-897-5413.