If you are going through a criminal trial, here are the four phases you need to know about.

Generally, a case that progresses to criminal trial can be dissected into four phases. Understanding these four phases will help you to gain clarity over legal matters in your own life. So, whether you have a criminal case looming, or whether you are a law student wanting to learn more, here are the four phases of any criminal trial in Rochester.

If you are being prosecuted, find yourself an excellent Rochester criminal lawyer before you go any farther. Don’t make the mistake of going to court alone.

The 4 Phases of Criminal Trials in the USA

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Law works differently all over the world, so we will look specifically into the 4 phases of criminal trials in the US.

1 – The Pre-Trial Motions are filed

The pre-trial motions are filed, which will ultimately summon participants to appear before the judge. Before any of this happens, you will have been investigated by the police. If you are the accuser, you will have had reason to have the recipient investigated. A trial won’t go ahead unless the prosecutor thinks they have enough evidence to charge. All this will have been worked out prior to the pre-trial motions being filed.

The pre-trial motions trigger the onset of a court date. They will lead to a conference, in the hopes that things can be settled out of court. The defendant reviews the details held against them, but no other statements or witness testimony is given.

2 – The Trial Takes Place

During this time, the prosecution tries to convince the jury that the defendant is guilty. The judge, an impartial participant, must be convinced beyond all reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt. If they are not convinced, the defendant will likely get off lightly.

Trials can last days, weeks, and even months. The process features jury selection, the opening and closing statements, any witness testimony, a review of all evidence held, expert opinions, and will culminate in the Jury’s instruction and the judge’s decision.

3 – The Sentencing Process

When all has been said and done, the judge will retire to consider the verdict. The sentencing process happens when both the jury and the judge have come to a consensus of guilt. The judge is solely in charge of passing sentence. Once they have done so, the defendant is either free to go about their life or must carry out the punishment as described in the court of law.

4 – Your right to Appeal

Everyone ever tried in court after a legal error was made, has the right to appeal their innocence. You can do this by bringing your case to a higher court, who can overrule the judges first decision. The appeal will be heard by a team of judges, who hear your case again but this time through your lawyers’ briefs. Once considered, they will make a final decision on your case.

Still need Help?

If you find you are still in need of further clarity, you should speak to a lawyer in advance. If you are being tried yourself, a lawyer is an absolute must-have. Don’t get caught out trying to represent yourself… it isn’t worth the jail time.