When you plead “not guilty,” you’re telling the prosecution they’ll have to work harder to prove your guilt by going to trial. Even while making this plea, many defendants are still intimidated by the idea of going to trial, perhaps because they aren’t sure what happens next.
In this blog post, we’re going to explain what happens after a “not guilty” plea and hopefully ease some of your uncertainty. After all, if you’re pleading innocence, the trial is supposed to be a good thing and a way to free yourself from the accusation against you.
Your plea will put the following steps into motion (not necessarily in this order):
Your case will be assigned to a pretrial and/or trial day. However, the case can still be dropped even after the date is set.
Type of Trial
There are two types of trials: bench trial and jury trial. In a bench trial, your case is heard only by a judge, not a jury. As the defendant, you are often able to choose which kind of trial you want, depending on the specifics of your case. In Georgia, as long as you have filed a defense, you can request a trial by jury. Research the pros and cons of both trial types and discuss them with your lawyer before deciding.
If a pretrial hearing was scheduled, the prosecution and defense meet on the scheduled day to make particular arguments before the judge about evidence, testimonies, and the case in general. They can even present a motion to dismiss, should they have good reason.
If you choose a jury trial, the judge, prosecution, and defense all take part in selecting the jury. Lawyers are particularly helpful at this stage, as they have experience in screening potential jurors. Choosing your own jurors can be a lot of pressure.
Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution, not you. To maintain your innocence during the trial, your lawyer may cross-examine your arresting officer or present evidence on your behalf.
Trials are complicated, and even after learning more about the process, you may still have reservations about going to trial. That’s where we step in. Castan & Lecca can represent your interests and provide exceptional defense for you each step of the way.
Every case has its own nuances, which is why we recommend consulting a criminal defense lawyer about yours rather than just relying on general information about criminal defense cases. Don’t hesitate to ask us questions specific to your situation. Contact us online or call 404-923-7570 for a free consultation, no strings attached.
We’re here to protect you.