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By: Law Offices of Mace J. Yampolsky

What Does a Jury Do in a Criminal Trial?

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Are There Any Advantages To Requesting a Jury Trial?

First, in most instances, being arrested (especially for a severe criminal crime) is confusing and possibly terrifying. After the initial confusion clears up, your overwhelming concern for what happens next usually begins.

If you’re like most people, you have little understanding of the details of the criminal trial process in Nevada or the potential pitfalls that await you.

The fortunate truth is that you never have to go through this stressful, possibly life-changing process alone. If you’re arrested for a criminal offense, you must consult immediately with a professional criminal defense lawyer, so they can “get ahead” of the prosecution.

After all the preliminary details are complete (and there are many), you and your qualified criminal defense lawyer will have to decide whether to possibly “plead down” your case or ask for a jury trial.

In our judicial system, your constitutional right to trial by jury is generally seen as providing a safeguard against the arbitrary enforcement of any laws by the government. It’s commonly felt that jurors are more likely to acquit you of the crime when a prosecution has biased characteristics.

After the jury has heard both sides of your case (the prosecutors and your criminal defense lawyers), they commonly will pool their common sense and arrive at a verdict after having heard and digested all the pertinent evidence.

Many criminal defense lawyers agree that the jury system is considered the fairest method of deciding whether their clients are guilty or not guilty of a criminal offense.

There may be more, but some advantages to requestion a jury trial include:

  • Your criminal defense law team has a say in the jury’s selection.
  • Juries may be sympathetic to you and details in your case.
  • The jury’s final decision usually must be unanimous (especially in severe cases such as murder).
  • You could be acquitted before your jury deliberates.
  • If convicted, you may have more options to appeal your case.

One essential item to remember is that your jury will typically have your rights and freedoms in their hands. Therefore, you must choose an experienced, diligent, and aggressive criminal defense lawyer with a sufficient, professional, and winning history of working (and litigating) a jury trial. This fact cannot be stressed enough, as some criminal defense lawyers rarely go to trial. Still, your criminal defense law team must possess the negotiating and trial skills you desperately need.

Does Just the Jury Decide the Verdict In My Trial?

In almost all criminal cases, yes, they do. Also, in most cases, any decision to have your case tried by a jury or in front of a judge is made by you and only you. After analyzing all aspects and details of your case, your criminal defense law team will help you make this decision, but ultimately, it’s always your choice.

All Nevada trials are an extremely structured process where all the pertinent information is presented to the jury. Only they decide if you (as the defendant) are guilty or not guilty of the charges made by the prosecution.

Under normal circumstances, only two verdicts will be decided in criminal cases: guilty or not guilty.

Also, in all criminal cases, your Nevada jury has to unanimously decide whether to find you “guilty” or “not guilty.” If they can’t reach a decision, they’re considered a “hung jury,” and the judge must declare a mistrial.

So, in most cases, your criminal defense lawyer will explain that the state prosecutor must provide sufficient evidence to prove your case to all of the jurors deliberating. While your defense lawyer only must convince one juror of your possible innocence.

What Is the Process of Jury Selection In Nevada?

In most states, including Nevada, possible jurors are summoned randomly through driver’s licenses and voter registration lists. On the date they come to court, both lawyers from the prosecution and your defense will question the jury pool about themselves and their “suitability” to serve on the jury. This questioning process is legally known as “voir dire” and is critical to jury selection.

Typical questions for the jurors may include:

  • Do you personally know or have dealings with any of this case’s attorneys, plaintiffs, defendants, or prospective witnesses?
  • Have you already heard any facts regarding this case?
  • Do you have philosophical, religious, or other beliefs that would prevent or bias you when making a fair and impartial judgment?

The jurors are also usually asked to provide information regarding their education, occupation, job history, prior lawsuits, etc.

The prosecution and your criminal defense lawyer can ask to “excuse” several potential jurors.

Your Las Vegas, criminal defense lawyer usually will have a limited number of jurors to choose from. However, their years of experience will help enormously in, at least, picking jurors that he feels will be impartial and “open-minded” in their verdict.

How Can a Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer Help Me Win My Case?

You will be stunned to discover that many criminal defense lawyers have never won a “not-guilty” verdict at a trial. I have.

Two vital points that this fact proves to you are:

  • It is thoroughly unrealistic to expect a lawyer to get a not-guilty verdict at trial if they have never gotten a not-guilty verdict before!
  • Most state prosecutors know the lawyers who win and never win at trial. So if you’re your lawyer never or rarely wins at trial, the prosecutor is much less likely to try to negotiate a solid plea deal or make concessions that may be favorable to you.

Therefore, finding a winning, aggressive, and successful trial lawyer is probably the most crucial decision you must make to fight and win your criminal case. A proven, winning, and fighting trial lawyer with a known record of success is much more likely to win your case. Also, if you decide on a plea deal, they will be more likely to negotiate a better one on your behalf.

So ensure you hire a Law Vegas criminal defense trial lawyer with experience, as it’s crucial to winning your case.

I Believe I Need a Jury Trial in My Criminal Case; How Should I Proceed?

First, you must remember; If you choose a jury trial, your future is up to them. Many times, it’s a viable, trusted, and the best way to fight against any criminal charges you may have against you.

However, ever-present by your side, you also must have a Las Vegas criminal defense law team who are trial lawyers. They are fully versed in utilizing all the information available to dismiss cases, exclude improper evidence, know the Nevadajuries statutes, and win trials. 

The empathetic, aggressive, and winning criminal defense lawyers at Law Offices of Mace J. Yampolsky possess these professional qualifications and will work tirelessly to obtain the justice you deserve. Call them today at (702) 385-9777, and get the exclusive criminal defense you need and deserve.