5 Reasons You May Want to Request a Jury Trial
You have a right to a jury trial when charged with a crime under the United States Constitution. You also have a right to a jury trial in a civil case or lawsuit in most situations. While a trial by jury of your peers is one of your 6th Amendment rights, it is not the only type of trial available for criminal defendants. If you have been charged with a crime in Minnesota, you have the right to request a trial by jury or a bench trial. A bench trial has no jury, and your fate rests solely in the judge’s hands. Both types of trials have benefits and drawbacks, and it can be challenging to decide which option will be most beneficial for your case.
It is vital to remember that you do not have to make such a critical decision alone. If you are facing criminal charges in southern Minnesota, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will use their legal expertise to review your case and advise you on the best course of action.
Top 5 Advantages of Requesting a Jury Trial
Requesting a jury trial has many advantages that may help the success of your case, many of the which are the result of your case being heard by a group rather than a single individual. Some advantages of requesting a jury trial include:
The Defense Has a Hand in Juror Selection
When you request a trial by jury, the defense and prosecution each get to select the people that will serve on the jury. In addition, the defense and prosecution can have prospective jurors stricken from the jury. This could benefit your case because you and your lawyer can try to select individuals you believe will empathize with your side of the story.
Juries Can Be Sympathetic
Unlike an impartial judge, the panel of individuals on your jury could be swayed by emotion and personal experience. This may work in your favor. If you have been overcharged for the crime in question or are a sympathetic defendant, some jurors may be more likely to back you.
The Final Decision Must Be Unanimous
When six people (or 12 people) must come to an agreement on the verdict, as in criminal cases, there can be room for disagreement. Every juror will have their own opinion on the case and must agree on finding you guilty or innocent. If even one jury member does not agree with the final verdict, your charges could be dropped entirely.
You Could Be Acquitted Before the Jury Deliberates
After all the evidence is presented to the court, the defense can file a motion for acquittal. In other words, the defense can ask the judge if there is sufficient evidence for the trial to continue. If the judge finds that there is not enough evidence to convict you, the trial will end, and you will be found not guilty. If the judge does not rule in your favor, the case will continue to jury deliberations.
You May Have More Options to Appeal
Jury trials are more complex than bench trials, which means more things could potentially go wrong. If the jury was tampered with or jurors participated in misconduct, you may have grounds for an appeal if you are found guilty.
Speak to a Skilled Southern Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney at Knutson + Casey
Deciding whether or not to request a trial by jury can significantly impact the outcome of your case. At Knutson + Casey, we understand the weight this decision carries and will use all the legal expertise at our disposal to guide you in the right direction. Our attorneys are dedicated and passionate advocates for your rights and will work with you to craft the best possible defense strategy. Call us today at (507) 344-8888 or complete our contact form to schedule a complimentary and confidential consultation with a member of our skilled legal team.