A Step-By-Step Guide to the Florida Criminal Trial Process

For most individuals facing criminal charges, the aftermath can be overwhelming. There’s your arrest, potential bail, and then the criminal trial. You may not know where to begin when it comes to finding an attorney, what exactly the criminal trial process entails, or what you can do to prepare yourself for success.

Fighter Law has put together a step-by-step guide to help navigate you through the criminal trial process and help alleviate any stress you may have regarding your future. In order to best prepare yourself and get one step closer to the outcome you need for your desired outcome, it’s best to partner with a dedicated criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

A Step-By-Step Guide to the Average Florida Criminal Trial Process

The average criminal trial consists of five key parts, which can include the following steps: 

Initial Consultation

Before the actual trial itself begins, your attorney will have started an investigation into the circumstances surrounding your arrest and charges. This means the criminal trial process starts before that first day, and it’s important to give your attorney as much time as possible so they can conduct a thorough look at your case. During this period, they will collect information and assess any relevant evidence to find gaps in the prosecutor’s story. 

Choosing the Jury

One of the first steps in a criminal trial is choosing the jury. Unless your case is being overlooked by a sole judge, the jury selection process involves the judge and all associated attorneys questioning and polling the potential jurors. 

Both your attorney and the defendant will use the potential jurors’ answers to shape the final pool. Based on certain responses and criteria relevant to the case, people may be excluded due to biases or a demonstrated inability to be unobjective. 

Opening Statements

The very first dialogue of the trial will come after the jury has been selected. Opening statements are a chance for both the prosecutor and your attorney to set the stage for all events to come, including evidence and cross examinations. The prosecutor will go first, as they have the burden of proof. 

Your attorney will essentially rebuke the opening statement made by the prosecutor. No physical evidence or witnesses are used during opening statements. 

Eyewitness Accounts

During the meat of the trial, what is commonly referred to as the “case-in-chief” will take place. This is the opportunity for both sides to detail their position and utilize physical evidence such as medical reports, police reports, or important documentation. Eyewitness accounts and experts may also be called to testify, giving their accounts and opinions. 

Cross-examination may be utilized, which is the process of the opposing party questioning the other party’s witnesses. This is a chance to make the jury aware of any holes or gaps in the prosecution’s story. Once all evidence has been shown and challenged, both sides will “rest.” This means no more evidence will be introduced. 

Closing and Deliberation

As a way to sum up the events that have transpired for the jury, both sides will make a closing argument. Your criminal defense attorney will use this opportunity to demonstrate the prosecution’s failure to adequately prove guilt. 

The judge will then instruct the jury on the set of legal standards they must adhere to when deliberating and making a decision on whether or not you were found to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. From there, a decision will be made, after which the judge will review and announce the verdict in an open court. 

Facing Criminal Charges? A Prestigious Attorney Can Help Today

If you are currently facing criminal charges, arm yourself with a dedicated and board-certified attorney like Thomas Feiter of Fighter Law today. With years of experience and documented success, you will be giving yourself access to an attorney who will put your needs first and use every tool available to build your defense. Fighter Law’s people-first approach to the world of criminal defense means having a prestigious attorney by your and your family’s side at every step of the criminal trial. 

For a free case evaluation today, please call our office at (407) 344-4837 or use our contact form.


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