If you are charged with a criminal offense, you are entitled to elect for a jury trial as opposed to having your hearing in front of a judge only.
For many people, the thought of having a jury trial is intimidating, especially if this is their first dealing with the legal system they’ve ever had.
There are times, however, when it could be in your best interest to elect for a jury to hear your case.
1. The prosecution has to prove their case to 12 people
With a jury trial, the prosecution has to prove their case to 12 people unanimously. This means convincing 12 people that a defendant is guilty of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
This is a much more difficult task than convincing only one person (i.e., a judge) that the burden has been met. From a defense perspective, a jury trial may be preferable where evidence is weak or in question.
2. Juries are more likely to be swayed by emotion
Judges hear this type of case every day and can become hardened to hearing mitigating evidence. Juries, on the other hand, are more likely to be receptive to the information they hear that’s personal and has no bearing on the legal questions to be answered.
For example, a jury may be more sympathetic if they feel like they’ve been a victim of the court system. They may also be more receptive to hearing about the personal consequences of a guilty verdict for you and your family.
Making the decision to elect for a jury trial is something you may wish to consider if charged with a DUI. Seeking legal help early on can help you make the right choice for your case.