Under the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, all criminal defendants have the right to a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of their peers. But just because you have the right to a trial doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use that right or that you would want to, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic is throwing a wrench into the court system’s routines. In today’s blog post, we’ll look at some things you should consider when deciding whether or not you want to take your criminal case to trial.
If you admit that you committed the crime in question, it may be appropriate to plead guilty and skip over the trial process. Sometimes a plea will be in your best interest.
Did you know that jury trials aren’t the only kinds of trials. You might be able to choose a bench trial instead. Rather than a group of people deciding whether you are guilty or innocent, in a bench trial it will be up to one person – the judge. This can lead to a quicker resolution. Going forward in a bench trial might be beneficial if your case focuses on a question of law. However, with a judge, the prosecution only has to convince one person beyond a reasonable doubt, versus with a jury, the verdict must be unanimous – 12 in federal court and a minimum of 6 in state court.
The developing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic may also play into your decision about whether or not to have a trial. Court closures have led to delays and it may take longer than usual to get to your case. Is it worth the wait to try to defend your innocence? Would you rather just put the ordeal behind you?
Who can help me decide whether or not to go to trial?
At the end of the day, every situation is unique. Your criminal defense attorney can look at your individual case and needs and help you weigh the pros and cons of taking your case to court. If you need guidance regarding a federal or state criminal case, the Puglisi Law team is here to help. If you’re interested in learning more about us or discussing your case, we encourage you to contact us today. We can’t wait to get started on your case.