Going to trial: Opening statements
In a recent series on the criminal process, we’ve provided an overview of criminal procedure in Florida, covering the key events that occur between a formal arrest and trial date. Now, it’s time to address the layout of the trial itself.
Typically, both the prosecution and the Miami criminal defense attorney will present opening statements before the court at the beginning of a criminal trial. At this time, they will essentially describe the case they intend to make either for or against you. These statements often contain a narrative that explains how the evidence and testimony they present will support their account of the event in question.
However, note that the criminal defense lawyer also has the option of delivering their opening statement after the state has finished presenting evidence – when the defense is then able to present their case.
As explained by the official website of the U.S. court system:
“The opening statement at the beginning of the trial is limited to outlining facts. This is each party’s opportunity to set the basic scene for the jurors, introduce them to the core dispute(s) in the case and provide a general road map of how the trial is expected to unfold.”
Your case will not be argued at this time, nor can the merits of the testimony provided by witnesses from either side be praised or challenged. Instead, this is your Miami criminal defense attorney’s chance to present a fluid, concise account of your role (or lack thereof) in the criminal act under review.
As your attorney’s opening statement is the first impression the judge and jury will have of you, and may set the tone for the rest of the trial. It’s important to entrust this task with a seasoned professional like Scott A. Ferris, Esq, who can present a compelling case right from the start.