Direct examination at a Florida criminal trial allows the defendant to tell his or her version of events. Although Florida law provides for both criminal bench trials and jury trials, most criminal trials are jury trials. Clear and concise direct examination answers can go a long way in maximizing the effectiveness of your testimony and can increase the likelihood of a favorable jury verdict.
An experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney will be able to help you decide whether or not you should accept a plea deal or go to trial. If you decide to reject the plea deal and go to trial, an experienced defense attorney will be able to help you prepare your direct examination testimony, allowing you to put your best foot forward at trial.
Handling Direct Examination Questions
After the jury has been selected and each attorney has made an opening statement, the prosecution will begin its case-in-chief. As part of the prosecution’s case-in-chief, the prosecuting attorney may call the defendant on direct exam as an adverse witness. In many cases, however, the defense attorney will be the first to call the defendant to the witness stand on direct examination.
The main reason why Florida criminal cases go to trial is because there is a serious dispute of fact vis-à-vis the events that took place on a particular occasion. Direct examination allows a criminal defendant to tell his or her version of events to the jury and to make it as easy as possible for the jury to decide the case in the defendant’s favor.
Criminal defendants should keep the following in mind when responding to questions on direct exam:
- Have a clear, concise version of the facts prepared.
- Do not disparage or insult the alleged victim – or the prosecuting attorney – when answering questions.
- Focus on telling a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
- Do not tell a lie or half-truth when answering questions. The prosecutor will expose these falsehoods on cross-examination.
Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
Florida criminal trials can be very long and involved. Our criminal defense attorneys have the legal knowledge and experience to provide you with quality legal representation, both at trial and at any post-trial proceedings.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer, please call us or contact us online.