Being charged with a crime is undoubtedly a frightening and confusing experience. Those accused of a crime may have many questions about what will happen to them. This post will attempt to explain, in general, how the criminal trial process works in New York.
First, the jurors will enter the courtroom. They will be asked whether they can be fair and impartial and, if they cannot, they may not serve as a juror. Also, the defense and the prosecution can object to a juror under certain circumstances. After the required number of jurors has been reached, they will be sworn in. The judge will then inform them about how the trial will proceed, basic legal principals and what their duty is as a juror.
After that, an opening statement will be made by the prosecution. An opening statement may also be made by the defense, if the defense chooses to do so. Following that, the prosecution will call witnesses to testify against the accused. This is known as direct examination. The witnesses may then be questioned by the defense. This is known as cross-examination. The prosecution may also introduce physical evidence against the accused.
After the prosecution has made its case, the defense has the right to present its case. The accused can testify if he or she chooses. In addition, witnesses can be called in favor of the accused. The defense is also allowed to introduce physical evidence. The prosecution may present a rebuttal in response to the defense’s evidence and, if they do, the defense can then present a surrebuttal against the prosecution’s rebuttal.
Following this, each side will present a closing argument. Then the judge will provide the jury with instructions as to how to make a decision. The jury then will go to another closed room to decide on a verdict. The jury must reach their decision unanimously.
If the jury determines that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime, the accused will be found not guilty.
This is only a general overview of the criminal trial process in New York — there are more details that were not covered in this post, and each case is unique. To learn more about the criminal trial process, one may need to seek legal advice from a criminal defense attorney.