Which Is Better for You—a Bench Trial or Jury Trial?
You have a constitutional right to a trial by jury, but this is not always your best option. A bench trial may be worth your consideration. Your South King County criminal defense lawyer will discuss the specifics of your domestic violence case with you, and together you will decide which option to pursue.
So-called “bench trials” are simply those which are decided solely by the judge without the presence of a jury. Some jurisdictions with high caseloads encourage these trials, for they tend to be completed faster, and don’t require the time and expense of jury selection. If you choose a bench trial, you will need to waive your right to a jury.
Factors to Consider
The specifics of your case may warrant a bench trial. Jurors tend to be sympathetic with spouses who appear frail and vulnerable. Your South King County criminal defense lawyer may suggest a bench trial if this seems likely; moreover, if the facts of your case can be used to characterize you in a particularly deleterious light, you may wish to opt for a trial without a jury.
Jurors tend to become confused or suspicious when a defense hinges on legal technicalities. By contrast, judges tend to weigh evidence based strictly on the law, and are comfortable with such technical issues. If your defense is built upon such issues, a bench trial may be better.
However, if your lawyer believes that you will be perceived as likable to jurors, or the prosecution as unjust or excessive, a jury trial may be better. Judges never decide cases on such factors, but jurors are free to do so. If the evidence against you is overwhelming, a jury trial may be your best option.
Call for Legal Assistance
If you are facing charges of domestic violence, it is important that you have a strong South King County criminal defense lawyer in your hire. Call South King County criminal attorney for a consultation today at (253) 709-5050.