A Florida criminal trial can be a confusing process. In Florida, there are two types of trials: bench trials and jury trials. At a bench trial, the outcome of the case (usually a minor case) is decided by a judge, while six or more jurors decide the outcome of a jury trial. Most Florida trials are jury trials.

If you have been charged with a crime, it is essential that you have experienced legal representation in your corner from the onset of your case up through the end of trial. If you plead ‘Not Guilty’ to a crime and decide to proceed forward to trial, an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney can represent you at trial and at all post-trial proceedings, including sentencing.

This article explores the major parts of a criminal jury trial in Florida.

Jury Selection and Voir Dire

Each side fully questions the jury panel to expose biases and prejudices of prospective jurors.

Opening Statements

The attorney for each side makes an opening statement (which is not evidence), explaining what the evidence will show at trial.

Presentation of Evidence by the State and Defense Cross-Examination

The State will call witnesses and ask questions. The defense attorney may then cross-examine the State’s witnesses to expose holes in the State’s case, as well as witness biases, prejudices, or motives.

Presentation of Evidence by the Defense and State Cross-Examination

The defense may call witnesses – or call no one at all. If witnesses are called, the State may cross-examine those witnesses to expose biases, prejudices, motives, or prior inconsistent statements.

Closing Argument

Each attorney argues for the outcome he or she wants. Like the opening statement, a closing argument is not to be used as evidence in the case.

Jury Deliberation

After the judge instructs the jury members on the law to apply, the jury deliberates and decides the case.

Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

Florida criminal trials can last for many days, and the legal process is confusing. Our criminal defense attorneys have the legal knowledge and experience to effectively represent at every stage in your case. To schedule a free consultation with a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney, call the Khonsari Law Group today at 727-269-5300 or contact us online.

1 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/bench_trial