A guide to the criminal process: Part Five

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If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Florida, you will likely have questions about the criminal process itself, and what rights the accused retains throughout this investigation. In addition to securing an experienced Miami criminal defense lawyer, familiarizing yourself with legal procedure is an important part of your pre-trial preparation.

Previously, we’ve reviewed how Florida authorities respond to criminal acts, and what you as a defendant can expect before your case goes to court. If you plead guilty or no contest, either at your initial appearance, arraignment hearing or following a successful plea agreement reached by your Miami criminal defense lawyer, your case will not be tried.

However, if you plead not guilty to the charges put against you, you have the legal right to be tried by a jury of your peers.

Florida law stipulates that the jury for a criminal case will consist of six individuals, unless the charge under review is a capital felony and can therefore incur the death penalty. In capital trials, 12 jurors are assigned to the case. The jury for your trial will be selected through a process known as voir dire, which we will cover in detail in a future post.

Depending on your case, you and your Miami criminal defense lawyer may determine that a bench trial is more appropriate for your case, though jury trials are generally the standard. This means that your case will be reviewed by a judge alone and will not be brought before a jury. In this instance, opposing counsel will also have to agree to a non-jury trial.

Scott A. Ferris, Esq. has been practicing criminal law for more than 25 years, and is available seven days a week to pursue justice on your behalf. For a free phone consultation regarding your case, call 303-377-5500.