What Happens at Trial?

I am Burnsville criminal defense attorney Howard Bass. For more than 30 years, I have aggressively defended clients throughout Minnesota facing felony, gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor charges. I understand that for most people, there's nothing more overwhelming than the thought of going to trial. I have handled trials throughout the Twin Cities and can provide you a clear understanding of what you can expect.

Defining The Criminal Trial Process In Minnesota

The trial process begins with jury selection during which the judge and attorneys question potential jurors to determine whether they could remain fair and unbiased throughout the trial. Potential jurors who do not meet this standard are dismissed by the judge. Both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer have the ability to dismiss a certain number of jurors as well.

After a jury has been selected, the prosecutor makes an opening statement. Then, the defense attorney has the opportunity to do the same, or reserve the right to make an opening statement until later, or simply waive the opening statement entirely.

Next, the prosecution calls witnesses to testify under oath. The prosecution questions the witness in a process known as "direct examination." The defense attorney then has the opportunity to cross-examine the witness. When both the prosecutor and the defense attorney have finished questioning the witness, the witness is excused.

After the prosecution has finished presenting its evidence, it rests. The defense attorney then calls witnesses to testify on behalf of his or her client. When the defense finishes presenting its evidence, it rests.

Both the prosecution and the defense then have the opportunity to present additional witnesses to rebut the other side's case. Once this step is completed, both sides make their closing arguments and the jury is sent to deliberate its verdict.

It is important to note that the defendant has no obligation to testify at the trial, to present any defense evidence, or to call any defense witnesses. It is also important to remember that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty - if the prosecution cannot prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury is required to find the defendant not guilty.

Contact A Skilled Defense Attorney To Get Real Answers

If you are wondering what happens at trial, contact my firm today for a free initial consultation in Burnsville. I want to make sure you have a clear understanding of what you can expect, so you are not left with any surprises.