Getting arrested for a crime and facing a Phoenix criminal law trial is an extremely stressful event. That is why it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with the process of a criminal trial if your case is being heard in court.
The purpose of a trial is for a jury of your peers to examine the evidence against you and determine if you committed the crime. You are innocent until proven guilty, and the burden is on the prosecutor to convince the jury that you committed the crime.
Here are the six major stages of a criminal trial:
- Jury Selection. The judge, your attorney, and the prosecutor will have an opportunity to question prospective jury members, exclude certain jurors, and make their selections for the jury at this stage.
- Opening Statement. Both the prosecutor and the defense will open the trial and address the jury for the first time at this stage. The opening statement typically consists of presenting the facts of the case and giving a guide for the jury as to what the attorney hopes to prove.
- Evidence and Witnesses. Each side will have an opportunity to argue their case by presenting evidence and witnesses. The other side will also have an opportunity to rebut the evidence or cross-examine the witnesses.
- Closing Argument. After both sides have argued their cases, they will have the chance to make closing arguments. This typically consists of summing up the case and why you are guilty or not guilty.
- Jury Instructions. When the lawyers are done with their arguments, the judge gives the jury a set of legal standards it will need to make its decision. The judge will also explain what it means to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Jury Deliberation and Verdict. The jury as a group will consider the case during deliberation. This process can last several hours or several weeks.
If you have been convicted of a crime and are facing a criminal law trial, you should contact an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney. The steps of a Phoenix criminal law trial can be confusing, and you will want an advocate on your side.