What to Expect at Trial
Any time you find yourself enmeshed in the criminal justice system, you need to ensure you’re working with a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney. And, at no time is this truer than if you must go to trial on criminal charges. In 2022, there were 4,572 violent crimes and 32,839 property crimes reported in Columbus alone, per the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services. Many of those accused will have to stand trial.
If you’d like to learn more about the criminal trial process and are in the Columbus, Ohio, area, call Wolfe & Mote Law Group, LLC to schedule a consultation. The attorneys at Wolfe & Mote Law Group, LLC can also serve clients in Dublin, Westerville, Gahanna, Hilliard, Licking County, Newark, Heath, Granville, Fairfield County, Lancaster, Pickerington, Delaware County, City of Delaware, Lewis Center, and Powell.
Understanding the Criminal Trial Process
No matter where you are, the general process of a criminal trial will be more or less the same. It’s always in your best interest to hire an attorney as soon as possible in the process to avoid any issues before they come up and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
Most criminal trials will be heard by a jury, though your case may only be heard by a judge. No matter what kind of trial you have, the burden of proof always lies with the prosecution, meaning they are responsible for providing enough evidence that proves you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Of course, your own attorney will be presenting evidence to support your case while trying to discredit or call into question claims made by the prosecution. At the end of this process, the jury will read their decision and a judge will issue the sentence.
Steps to Take Before Your Trial
The most important of the pre-trial steps to take is finding a criminal defense attorney who you trust and who has experience trying cases like yours. You should never attempt to represent yourself in court, even if you are confident in your innocence. You should also be completely honest with your attorney before and during the trial. Lying or trying to obscure certain facts can only hurt you, so always give truthful answers to your lawyer.
What to Expect at Your Trial
Your attorney should keep you informed at every stage of the process so you know what to expect and what’s expected from you. In general, you can expect the following stages:
If your trial will be heard by a jury, then one of the first things that will happen is jury selection.
Both the defense and prosecution then engage in “discovery” which is a process where they exchange information and evidence they intend to bring forward in trial.
Once the trial begins, each side will begin by presenting their opening statements, laying out in broad terms what they intend to prove to the jury.
The prosecution always begins by presenting their evidence and witnesses first, with the defense having a chance to cross-examine.
Next, the defense will present their evidence and witnesses. Depending on what you and your attorney decide, you may or may not take the stand.
After all closing arguments have been heard, the judge will give final instructions to the jury about their task. They will then deliberate and return with a verdict.
Typically, a sentencing hearing will then be set where the judge will issue you your sentence.
Steps to Take Following Your Trial
Your post-trial steps are equally as important to pay attention to as what happens before and during. If you wish to appeal your sentence or issue a post-trial motion, now is the time to do so. This could be to request an acquittal or a re-trial.
Attorneys Who Fight for You
If you’ve recently been charged with a crime and are concerned about what your criminal trial will be like, reach out to Wolfe & Mote Law Group, LLC in Columbus, Ohio, for trusted legal help.