What Happens At Trial?

If you have a trial the Judge will decide what facts the jury will be allowed to hear based upon the Indiana Rules of Evidence and the Indiana and Federal Constitution.   These rules are designed to only allow relevant evidence. Objections by the attorneys are generally over violations of those rules, and the judge’s role is to decide which of the attorneys is correct.   Generally speaking, only a tiny fraction of attorneys ever try a case to a jury.  Of those who have tried cases, only a few have done dozens of trials, and are able to perform at the level needed for trials.

Outside of some legal motions that are filed just prior to trial, what happens first at trial is jury selection.  This is called “Voir Dire”, and is the only time your lawyer will be allowed to question and talk to the jury personally about their beliefs and attitudes.

A huge amount of experience is needed during jury selection, as many jurors aren’t entirely truthful about their beliefs.  Once 12 (or 6 in the case of D felonies or misdemeanors) jurors are selected, the trial begins in earnest.   Each side is allotted a certain amount of time to present a summary of the case they expect to present.  The Prosecuting Attorney always goes first, followed by the Defense Attorney.  After that, the State begins calling witnesses, and in each case the defense is allowed to cross-examine those witnesses as to qualifications, truthfulness, and accuracy.  Once the state rests, the defense can call additional witnesses, and, if the defendant wishes, the defendant.     Once the defense rests, the state is allowed to call additional witnesses to the defense’s witnesses.  After this, the case ends and the jury makes its decision.

If the defendant is found not guilty, the case ends.  In the unfortunate event that the defendant is found guilty of some or all of the charges, (or if the defendant pleads guilty), then the case is set for sentencing thirty days or less after the conviction is entered.

For a more detailed description of the process as it would apply to the specifics of your situation, call my office or use one of my contact forms to set up an evaluation of your case.