How Criminal Trials Work

How Criminal Trials Work

A criminal trial can be confusing and intimidating. The defendant has to be extra careful in court, which can be hard when he or she isn’t used to the process. This post will provide a thorough overview of criminal trials and what to expect at each stage.


The trial process begins with jury selection. This is where the judge will pick a group of individuals that are fair-minded and impartial to serve on the jury. After selecting the jury, opening statements will take place. Opening statements are an opportunity for both sides to lay out their arguments and state what they believe happened during the event in question. This is the first impression the defendant’s side will make on the jury, so it shouldn’t be overlooked.


As testimony begins, each witness will be asked questions by either one of the attorneys or by the judge. The criminal defense attorney Greenville NC will then have a chance to cross-examine that same witness, trying to poke holes in the testimony or discredit it altogether. The prosecution or defense attorney can also call different witnesses who may offer evidence that could help prove their case.


Finally, the court is ready for the closing arguments. All attorneys get one final chance to summarize their arguments and state why they believe their side should prevail. The jury will then deliberate on the case, and determine whether or not the defendant is guilty. Charges and sentencing will follow if necessary, but if not, the defendant will be able to move on.

Armed with a working knowledge of the process, a defendant can protect his or her rights and have a better chance at a positive outcome. Despite how unpleasant a criminal trial may feel, there is a lot a person can learn from it.

About the Author: Bill K. Pasko

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