3 Factors behind the Right to a Jury Trial
Under most circumstances, people who are defending criminal charges have a right to a trial by jury. According to the United States Constitution, criminal defendants have the right to a trial by jury “except in Cases of Impeachment.” Practically speaking, many defendants are not able to have full jury trials and instead face judge trials, during which the court makes a ruling on the defendant’s guilt.
If you are facing criminal charges, you could benefit from contacting Naples criminal lawyer Michael Raheb. Mr. Raheb has experience handling a range of criminal cases, including those involving DUI, BUI and sexual assault, and he can help prevent you from making key mistakes during the trial that might compromise your interests.
Even if you think the charges against you are not serious, the justice system can be unpredictable, and it is important to turn to an experienced legal professional. Call The Law Offices of Michael M. Raheb, P.A. today at 866-949-0888 to schedule an appointment.
Here are three factors that may influence whether you receive a jury trial:
- Severity of the Offense
According to the United States Supreme Court, a defendant only has a right to a jury trial when he or she faces charges relating to a serious offense. Small or petty offenses do not qualify the defendant for a jury trial.
In this situation, the Supreme Court considers crimes that call for a prison sentence of six months or more as serious, and if the potential sentence is less than that, they will deem the charges not serious enough. In regard to first-time DUI offenders, the court previously considered it a petty offense when the maximum prison term was six months with a maximum fine of $1,000 and a 90-day license suspension.
- Multiple Charges
Often, criminal prosecutors file two or more criminal charges at one time against a single defendant, but according to a case published by the Legal Information Institute, stacked charges do not add weight toward receiving a jury trial. In one particular situation, a defendant faced two charges simultaneously, each with a potential prison sentence of six months, but the court ruled it did not have the weight to earn a jury trial.
- Influence of the Supreme Court
State courts must abide by the Supreme Court classification of a serious crime; however, they are free to provide a jury trial for crimes that do not meet the minimum requirements for a serious offense by Supreme Court standards.
A jury trial is not always the best option for someone facing serious charges, though, and it may be beneficial to consult a professional regarding your situation. If you are facing criminal charges and you are unsure of how to proceed, contact a Naples criminal attorney at The Law Offices of Michael M. Raheb, P.A.
Mr. Raheb offers free, no-obligation consultations, and we believe that the best way to achieve a positive outcome is to turn to skilled legal professionals for help. Call us today at 866-949-0888 to schedule an appointment.