It’s not widely known, but a defendant involved in a criminal case in Virginia can take their case to trial before a judge or jury in some cases. This is referred to as a bench trial. Most people are more familiar with seeing a jury trial with a court and jury of their peers, which is what is commonly seen on television and in movies. There are a few differences and similarities between a bench trial and a jury trial. Read on to learn more about what a bench trial is and how it may be relevant to your criminal case. If you have been arrested in Virginia, schedule a consultation with The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC to have your questions answered in a criminal case evaluation.
What Is The Difference Between A Jury Trial And A Bench Trial?
If your case goes to a jury trial, a trial of twelve of your peers will listen to the evidence and both legal arguments from the defense and the prosecution. The jury will assess all the facts and figures of your case and must come to a unanimous decision regarding who can testify and what they can testify about, and what evidence of documentation can be used as evidence in the case.
Different than a jury trial, a judge at a bench trial will make a ruling on the evidence and will serve as a fact finder throughout the process. The judge at a bench trial will make ruling about whether or not you are guilty. Bench trials are viewed as somewhat less formal than a jury trial.
The outcome of either trial is essentially the same. Whether you go through a jury trial or a bench trial, the process is quite similar and the outcome will be a conviction. If you’re convicted, you have the right to appeal this conviction at a higher court.
Do I Have The Right To A Bench Trial?
A defendant does not have the right to a bench trial. In most criminal cases, you do still hold your constitutional right to a jury trial, but this isn’t the same case for a bench trial. A defendant does have the right to give up or waive their right to a jury trial, but the prosecutor might push back against this. If the prosecutor objects or the judge rejects the defendant’s right to waive, the trial will go before a jury.
How Can The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC Defend Me Against A Criminal Charge In Virginina?
In order to find you guilty of a crime, the state is required to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As your trusted criminal defense attorney, Scott C. Nolan, PLLC knows how to find the flaws in the state’s case and how to cast doubt on the state’s evidence and witnesses. As your lawyer, he will compile all possible evidence to find you not guilty, and will stop at nothing to challenge the allegations against you. He will answer your questions, explain how the law applies in your own situation, work diligently on your behalf, and achieve the best possible outcome to your case. It doesn’t matter if your criminal charge is a crime of violence or a simple traffic infraction–Fairfax attorney Scott C. Nolan, PLLC can help.
If you’re accused of breaking the law in or near Fairfax, Virginia, don’t plead guilty and do not try to be your own criminal defense lawyer, either. Everyone has the right to a lawyer in the United States, but settling for a public defender is not as beneficial as hiring a private lawyer. Defending yourself is not a wise choice either, as it puts your family, freedom, and future at even more risk.
A guilty plea establishes a criminal record and everything that goes along with a criminal record. Without the help and guidance of a criminal defense lawyer, you run the risk of having difficulty finding a job in the future. Don’t gamble with your freedom and turn to a criminal defense lawyer who is skilled and knowledgeable regarding Virginia state law.
Schedule A Consultation With A Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney As Soon As You Have Been Arrested In Virginia
When you are charged with a crime, you’ll want a seasoned, veteran attorney with a proven track record. Fairfax criminal defense attorney Scott C. Nolan, PLLC will be a strong advocate on your behalf. With more than two decades of courtroom experience and success, The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC offers the high-quality defense that every client needs when facing criminal charges in the Fairfax and Fairfax areas.