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The steps of a criminal trial

| Mar 25, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Taking a case to trial after being charged with a crime in Georgia is usually the last step in defending against any charge. Convictions can be appealed to a higher court, but only based on procedural errors or improper application of the law. The criminal process is similar to a civil action, but the remedies are indeed different because incarceration is a possibility in most instances. After completing the pretrial hearing in the case, here is what occurs.

Jury selection

The first step in the criminal process going trial is jury selection. Potential jurors are chosen from a jury pool with each side having a limited number of peremptory strikes against certain possibly unfavorable jurors. Attorneys interview candidates for approval, and then the chosen jury will hear the case presentation.

The hearing

Criminal trials begin with the prosecution opening statements outlining why the charges were filed and what evidence they intend to submit for conviction. The government case is laid out in full before the defense begins to present its argument. All witnesses are called first by the prosecution with the defense attorney having the right of objection for certain evidence and cross-examination of all witnesses. Documented evidence can be presented as well with no witnesses needed. These documents can be evaluated by the defense and any objections or requests for dismissal raised at the time.

Jury deliberation

Juries go into deliberation after the trial with the judge “charging” them with what they should consider. Some cases will result in a quick verdict when evidence is effectively presented by either side.

A Georgia criminal defense attorney experienced in the criminal process and effective presentation could be an asset. Many times the final decision comes down to the skill of the defense attorney.