Going to trial: Partial and lesser verdicts

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In recent posts, we’ve provided a general outline of the Florida trial process, including the steps your Miami criminal defense attorney will take to protect your civil liberties and cast doubt on the allegations the state has made against you. Once both sides have presented their respective arguments before the jury, these individuals will be dismissed to deliberate on the case, and are required to come to a unanimous decision regarding your guilt or innocence.

Most people may believe that there are only three potential verdicts that a jury may issue: guilty, not guilty or neither – e.g. the jurors cannot agree on a ruling and the case must be deemed a mistrial.

However, it is also possible for the jury to provide a partial verdict, or find you guilty of a lesser charge than the prosecution intended.

According to federal law, the jury may issue a lesser verdict by finding an individual guilty of the following (as opposed to the official charge):

(1) an offense included in the original charge (i.e. manslaughter versus murder)
(2) an attempt to commit the official charge
(3) an attempt to commit a lesser offense included in the original charge, if said attempt is a crime in and of itself.

In addition, if you face charges for multiple counts of a criminal offense, the jury may limit their verdict to the counts they have been able to agree on.

When you have been charged with a criminal act, an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney can be an invaluable asset. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you stand accused of a crime. Not sure where to start? Call Scott A. Ferris, Esq. at 305-670-3330 to discuss your case.