Judge or Jury – Which Trial Option is Better When You’re Facing Criminal Charges?

Judge or Jury – Which Trial Option is Better When You’re Facing Criminal Charges?

Judge or Jury – Which Trial Option is Better When You’re Facing Criminal Charges?Most people, when they think of trials, assume that there will be a judge and 12 jurors in charge of their fates. However, not every trial requires a jury; bench trials are held in front of a judge, who decides the outcome of your case. Your lawyer should review the pros and cons of having a jury trial versus a bench trial depending on the facts of your case.

The reasons a jury trial may be preferable

In criminal cases, the government prosecutors must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. With a jury, if just one juror has a reasonable doubt, then you can’t be found guilty. If there are 12 jurors, the prosecution needs to convince all 12 people that there is no reasonable doubt. If the case is tried before a judge, then the prosecution only needs to convince one person, the judge. Statistically speaking, your odds should be better in front of a larger group of people.

Jurors also tend to be more understanding of human nature; after all, they’re people who have made mistakes, too. Any juror who’s received a traffic ticket or been pulled over by the police, or had a loved one accused of an act he or she didn’t commit may give a person the benefit of the doubt. That juror is less likely to automatically accept the testimony of the police officer or other government witness.

Finally, prosecutors may be more likely to drop a charge or negotiate charges in lieu of a timely and costly jury trial. Jury trials require much more preparation. They require the time of the judge, the prosecutor, the court clerks, and the stenographer. Jury trials take much more time because they involve jury selection, instructions to the jury, and generally more time to reach a verdict.

Reasons to choose to have a judge decide your case instead of a jury

All of this does not mean there aren’t benefits to a bench trial. They are often faster and less expensive, and some judges have been known, given the one-on-one nature of the case, to pursue less severe punishments. Though juries do tend to be more sympathetic, that group mentality can work against you, too – especially if you are charged with a violent crime such as assault or murder, or a crime that is deemed “distasteful” in the court of public opinion.

At the Sevierville law firm of Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, our criminal defense lawyers work aggressively to have your case dismissed or settled before trial. We file motions to suppress evidence. We challenge the basis for a police officer stop, when appropriate. If your case does require a trial to achieve a just result, our experienced trial defense lawyers fight to gain every tactical advantage we can – including helping you choose whether a jury or judge is more likely to decide in your favor.

For aggressive help, please phone us at (865) 428-8780 or fill out our contact form. We represent clients in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge.

 

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Ronnie Allen

"I was involved in a very serious motorcycle crash and was airlifted to UT Hospital for trauma care and emergency surgery.  Upon release from the hospital a few days later I was informed of my prolonged recovery time and the possibility of never being able to return to my chosen profession. Within a few days of my release the medical bills started arriving.....it was at this point I knew I need the help of a professional, Mr. Delius."

Ronnie Allen

Delius & McKenzie, PLLC
2015-09-30T10:20:22+00:00

Ronnie Allen

"I was involved in a very serious motorcycle crash and was airlifted to UT Hospital for trauma care and emergency surgery.  Upon release from the hospital a few days later I was informed of my prolonged recovery time and the possibility of never being able to return to my chosen profession. Within a few days of my release the medical bills started arriving.....it was at this point I knew I need the help of a professional, Mr. Delius."

Kim

"When I was faced with the tragic loss of my husband in 2012 and found myself needing an attorney for the first time in my life, I knew immediately that I would be calling on Attorney Bryan Delius. It was a huge source of comfort and a weight lifted off my shoulders to know that Mr. Delius and his staff would treat my case as if I were his only client and take care of me as if I were a family member."

Kim

Delius & McKenzie, PLLC
2015-09-17T16:02:47+00:00

Kim

"When I was faced with the tragic loss of my husband in 2012 and found myself needing an attorney for the first time in my life, I knew immediately that I would be calling on Attorney Bryan Delius. It was a huge source of comfort and a weight lifted off my shoulders to know that Mr. Delius and his staff would treat my case as if I were his only client and take care of me as if I were a family member."

Christopher and Rebekah

"I can not begin to express how thankful Chris and I are for all of the hard work and dedication put into my husband's lawsuit. You made a difficult and stressful situation so much easier on us both. Chris and I work full time while raising 4 kids and your office understood the importance of expediting our case and getting it resolved in a timely manner...."

Chris and Rebekah

Delius & McKenzie, PLLC
2017-01-03T14:46:22+00:00

Chris and Rebekah

"I can not begin to express how thankful Chris and I are for all of the hard work and dedication put into my husband's lawsuit. You made a difficult and stressful situation so much easier on us both. Chris and I work full time while raising 4 kids and your office understood the importance of expediting our case and getting it resolved in a timely manner...."

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