Going to trial: The prosecution rests

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Once you have been charged with a criminal act – be it a misdemeanor or felony – in the state of Florida, it is your legal right to be tried in a court of law. Unless your Miami criminal defense attorney can arrange a favorable deal with the opposing counsel regarding your sentence, your case will be presented and reviewed by a judge and a jury of your peers.

Because the prosecution bears the burden of proof, the state will first present their case against you, as we have documented in previous posts. After all admissible material evidence has been presented to the court, and the prosecution’s witnesses have been questioned by both sides, the prosecuting attorney will then summarize their argument in a closing statement.

As the U.S. Court System website notes, the closing statement can vary greatly from the opening statement, in that the latter is restricted to laying out the facts of a case. It isn’t a means of persuading the jury or pushing a certain argument. Closings arguments, by contrast, give both attorneys relatively free range to evaluate the facts put forward by the opposition and reestablish the merits of their case.

“Closing arguments are each parties’ principal opportunity to remind jurors about key evidence presented and to persuade them to adopt an interpretation favorable to their position,” the source states. “Parties at that point are free to use hypothetical analogies to make their points, to comment on which witnesses were or were not credible […] and to advocate why jurors should decide the case in their favor.”

Upon delivering the closing statement, the prosecution will rest – meaning the state has no further evidence to present. Generally, a recess will follow. In our next installment, we’ll discuss the actions your Miami criminal defense attorney may take on your behalf at this point in the proceeding.

Questions about the criminal process? Contact Scott A. Ferris, Esq. to discuss your case and determine the best action to take to protect your civil liberties.