How Does the Trial Process Work?

Facing a criminal trial is stressful and overwhelming. Knowing what to expect can help.

If you have been charged with a crime in Texas, you may have to go through a criminal trial. The thought of a trial is scary, particularly for people who have never been through it before and do not know what to expect. Below, our Austin criminal defense lawyer outlines the process, so you are fully prepared.

Filing a Motion to Suppress

Many criminal defense lawyers will start a case by determining if a stop, search, or arrest was legal. If law enforcement fails to follow proper procedure or violates your rights, it could result in important evidence being suppressed. This means it is inadmissible in trial and cannot be used against you. Sometimes without this evidence, the prosecution’s case is not strong enough to proceed, and the charges are dismissed.

Jury Selection

Jury selection is a process that can take some time. The prosecutor and the defense lawyer question a large group of people about their religious beliefs, biases, and background. Each side can challenge a potential juror if they have certain biases or beliefs that could influence their decision. Both attorneys also have a limited number of peremptory challenges, which do not have to be explained and allow them to dismiss a potential juror.

The Trial

Once the trial begins, the prosecution will read the charge to the jury and make an opening statement. The defense lawyer then has the option to make an opening statement, although they can postpone it. Opening statements cannot make any arguments. The prosecutor and defense attorney can only outline the facts they believe the evidence will show.

After opening statements have been made, the prosecution will start to present evidence through witness testimony. The defense lawyer can cross-examine the witnesses called by the state. The defense can present evidence once the state has finished its case, and the state will have an opportunity to call rebuttal witnesses. Lastly, the defense is also given the opportunity to call rebuttal witnesses.

When all testimony is heard, the judge prepares a jury charge outside of the presence of the jury. The charge contains laws and instructions that assist the jury with deciding on a verdict. The judge then reads the charge to the jury.

At this time, the prosecution and defense can make their closing statements to the jury. A copy of the charge is given to the jury, and the members of the jury are taken to a private space to make their decision.

Our Austin TX Criminal Defense Lawyers in Austin Can Represent You at Trial

Criminal trials are very stressful experiences, and you know how much is on the line. At Granger and Mueller PC, our Austin criminal defense lawyers can provide the strong legal representation you need so you have the best chance of beating the charges. Call us now at 512-474-9999 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.