A lot of people think that what lawyers do for work is what they see portrayed on t.v. in law and order shows or Matlock. As usual, however, reality is not really the same as what we see on t.v. and that is definitely the case for criminal defense lawyers. The t.v. shows almost solely depict trial proceedings and the reality is that most cases never go to trial, instead most cases settle before trial because of the huge incentives on both sides to avoid trial. In criminal cases the prosecutor will usually offer the defendant a plea bargain, which gives the defendant an opportunity to avoid the uncertainty of trial while allowing the prosecutor to still get some level of a conviction without all the work of a trial.
The Trial Process
If the parties cannot come to an agreement, however, then they must take the case to trial. The first step in the trial process is deciding who the decision maker will be as to the facts of the case. In Utah if the defendant is being charged with a crime that is a class C misdemeanor or greater then they have the right to a jury trial. If the charge is only an infraction then only the judge can decide the case. In every case however you can decide to have the judge decide the case instead of the jury. Once the decision maker set and the jury is selected if there is going to be one, then the prosecution puts on their case, meaning they have the burden of proving that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense has a chance to cross examine the witnesses called by the prosecution and then at the end they have the opportunity to put forward their defense and call any witnesses they would like as well. After both the prosecution and defense rest, the case is turned over to the decision maker to decide whether or not the defendant is guilty or not. If the defendant is found guilty then the judge will conduct sentencing, usually at a later hearing, but the jury never sentences the defendant only the judge, even in a jury trial.
Utah Criminal Trial Attorney
If you are being prosecuted for criminal charges and would like to take your case to trial then call the trial attorney’s at Ogden Criminal Defense Lawyer. Our lawyers have been through the trial procedure and can help you in your case to understand the process and defend your rights. Call or email us today to find out more.