- Coastal South Law
Is a Judge or Jury Trial Better for a Criminal Case?
If you are facing criminal charges you may be thinking a lot about your upcoming jury trial. But did you know that you do not have to have a jury trial? In most cases, you have the ability to choose whether you want your case to be heard by a jury or if you would prefer to have it just heard by an individual judge. Of course, if the other party has an individual right to a trial by jury, they can exercise this right. However, in most cases you will have discretion. So when is it better to have your case heard by a judge versus a jury? In this article we will discuss that very question. The information provided in this article is intended to be general, but if you would like more personalized feedback on your specific circumstances, you are welcome to talk to a lawyer. The experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorneys at Coastal South Law can offer you a consultation, simply call to schedule.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Judge and Jury Trials
Whether the judge or jury trial is more advantageous depends entirely on the specific circumstances of your case. If you are representing yourself, it will probably be in your best interest to just appear before a judge. This is because having a jury requires far more technical motions and legal knowledge which can introduce a lot of opportunity for error. It can also be hard to keep your cool in front of a jury while practicing law for the first time and defending your freedom. Of course, it is never advisable to represent yourself if you do not have to. Regardless of your situation, consulting with an experienced legal advocate is beneficial. If you slip up and introduce evidence that hurts your case a judge may rule it inadmissible and know not to consider it, but jurors may still be subconsciously influenced by what you showed them even though they were instructed by the judge not to consider it. In this way, having a judge may be better in some circumstances.
Having a judge instead of a jury for your trial can also be beneficial if your charges would not sit well with a jury. If you are worried about bias or prejudice because of the nature of your charges or because your case involves emotionally triggering content, having a trial by judge may be a better idea. If your case also focuses primarily on complex or technical legal questions then a judge may be better suited to make a determination. However, if an emotional component would aid in your case or your case is something that most people would be upset about, then a jury may actually be beneficial to you.
Talk to a North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing DWI or criminal charges in North Carolina and are in need of representation, contact the experienced North Carolina criminal defense lawyers at Coastal South Law today and schedule a consultation.