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Should I have jury trial or a bench trial?

Raleigh Trial Lawyer

In North Carolina, a defendant cannot choose which type of trial he or she wants. If you’re in District Court, a jury trial is not available; a trial will be by judge.

You can effectively choose a jury trial by either having a bench trial in District Court and then appealing, or by pleading not guilty, not resist the verdict and going straight to Superior Court. In general, it makes sense to have a bench trial because there may be a chance of a not-guilty result (which the State cannot appeal) and because your lawyer will get to hear the evidence from the State’s witnesses. Think of it as a glorified deposition.

A jury trial is usually a better venue for a defendant. It is better to be tried by twelve, than by one person. Judges are human beings. Judges bring their own biases to the case. A jury trial where twelve people must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of your guilt is usually a better option, because a hung jury is basically a win for the Defense.

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  • * All Fields Required