When someone is arrested for a criminal offense, they should hire a criminal defense lawyer in Martinsburg, WV who can help them become familiar with the steps involved in criminal trials. The general purpose of the trial is for a jury to evaluate the evidence and determine if, beyond reasonable doubt, the person committed the offense. As most know, defendants are innocent until they’re proven guilty, and it’s the government’s job to prove that a crime was committed. Below is a brief look at the phases of a criminal trial.
During the jury selection phase, the judge and both sides’ lawyers will question potential jurors about their ideological beliefs, experiences, and prejudices. Some potential members of the jury may be sent away, and others are excluded by the lawyers.
The first part of the trial comes in the form of opening statements. The prosecutor and the criminal defense lawyer in Martinsburg, WV will get a chance to make a statement. Most opening statements consist of an outline of the case’s facts and a list of the things each attorney wants to show the jury.
Witness Statements and Cross Examinations
During a criminal trial, both sides present evidence and call witnesses to testify. The opposing side will get the chance to rebut evidence and question witnesses in a process known as cross examination. After both sides have had the chance to present a case and challenge the other side’s evidence, they rest.
Similar to the opening statement, closing arguments are an opportunity for both sides to summarize their cases. This is the last change both sides’ lawyers get to speak to the jury.
After the closing arguments have been made, the judge provides the jurors with a set of standards needed to make a decision. The judge decides which legal standards are to be used based on the nature of the charges, and they also explain what’s involved in proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Deliberation and Verdict
As a group, the jury will consider the case’s facts during the deliberation phase. The process may last several hours, a few days, or even a few weeks. In most jurisdictions, the jury has to reach a unanimous verdict for a conviction to occur.
This is a basic outline of the progression of a criminal trial. For help and case-specific legal advice, call the firm or visit Lshermanlawfirm.com today.
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