If you are currently waiting for your criminal case to begin, your fate will likely be decided by a jury of peers, which is a group of regular people that were called in for jury duty. These individuals will be present through your entire case and will be selected by your attorney and the prosecuting attorney. At the end of the trial, they must agree on a verdict, or your case could end in a mistrial.
The process of voir dire
Most states choose 6 to 12 jurors to serve in criminal cases, and the lawyers handling the case will be very selective when choosing this individuals. They do this through a process known as voir dire, which involves asking the jurors questions in order to choose ones that are competent and can handle the issues fairly. Prosecutors will look for jurors that appear strict and against crime, while criminal lawyers may look for jurors that are sympathetic to people facing criminal charges.
The duty of the jurors
The main duty jurors have is to determine whether a person is guilty or not based on the facts presented. The jurors are instructed that they can only choose a guilty verdict if they are certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the person is guilty based on the evidence presented in court. At the end of the trial, the judge will instruct the jury to gather together to discuss the case and make a decision.
If all of the jurors vote innocent, you will be innocent and the charges will be dropped. If all vote guilty, you will be guilty and will be sentenced for the crime. When there is a split decision, your case will end in a mistrial.
How a mistrial is handled
In the case of a split decision, the judge will have to decide what to do next. One option is to have an entirely new trial at some point in the near future. This would involve selecting a new group of jurors and replaying the entire case. If the judge feels that there is not enough evidence to convict you of the crime and that the case may end in an innocent verdict or a mistrial if tried again, the judge could decide to drop the case. In this situation, you would not have to go to trial again because the charges would be dropped.
If you were recently charged with a crime and have any questions about your case, check out http://www.anggelisandgordon.com and contact an experienced criminal lawyer in your area to defend you in your case.