If you’re facing legal charges, you should be working with a lawyer to prepare for your trial. Part of this process is figuring out whether you should have a bench trial or jury trial. If you’re not familiar with both options, this decision can be difficult. If you want to learn about what a bench trial is or want to delve into the reasons for having a bench trial vs. jury trial, this guide is for you.
What Is a Bench Trial?
A bench trial is also often referred to as a trial by judge. This means there is no jury to make a decision on the case, and the judge will decide if you’re guilty. As with anything, there are pros and cons to a trial by judge vs. jury, and federal criminal defense lawyer Seth Kretzer can help you decide on the right option for your unique situation.
Before you decide, you should learn the advantages of trial by judge.
What Are the Advantages of a Bench Trial?
This type of trial tends to go faster than a jury trial, since there’s no need to take the time for jury selection. Also, bench trials often have a less formal feel, making them less intimidating than jury trials. Another one of the advantages of a bench trial is that it’s often best for complicated cases that a judge might understand better than a jury.
What Is a Trial by Jury?
In a jury trial, 12 members of the community are carefully chosen to listen to the facts of your case and determine your guilt. Basically, this jury of your peers will decide if you’re guilty of the crime or not after listening to evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense teams. One of the differences of a bench vs. jury trial is that with the latter, the judge is only there to keep order in the court, not to determine your guilt.
What Are the Advantages of Trial by Jury?
One of the benefits of trial by jury is that juries are made up of regular people—not judges—who can make a decision without feeling pressured to go one way or another. Another one of the advantages of trial by jury is that juries may make a verdict based more on emotions than facts, which is a benefit if your story might garner sympathy. When you hire a lawyer, he or she will help you decide on a bench vs. jury trial, so contact the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer for help.
Bench Trial vs. Jury Trial
Reasons for a bench trial
As you can see, there are some advantages of a jury trial and advantages of a bench trial. So, what is a bench trial hearing best for when it comes to different legal cases? One of the best reasons to choose a bench trial is having a complicated legal issue that a jury wouldn’t understand. Trying to keep the trial short and legal costs low is another reason for this option.
Additionally, note that municipal courts only offer bench trials, not jury trials, so you might not always have a choice.
Reasons for a trial by jury
If you’re planning to leverage emotion to win your case, you’ll want a jury trial. Juries tend to be more receptive to such cases than judges. Another reason to get a jury trial is if you lose the case, you have more grounds on which to appeal, while bench trials offer fewer chances to appeal the results.
Whether you’re considering a jury or bench trial, you need help from a Houston federal criminal defense lawyer you can trust. Contact the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer today to schedule a consultation.