What to Expect if Your Queens Criminal Case Goes to Trial

What to Expect if Your Queens Criminal Case Goes to Trial

Being charged with a crime in Queens can be an incredibly stressful and frightening experience. Many questions arise when facing criminal charges – What are the potential penalties? What are my options? What happens if my case goes to trial?

This article provides an overview of the key things to expect if your Queens criminal case goes to trial. We’ll walk through the pre-trial proceedings, the trial process, your legal rights, potential outcomes, and more.

The Decision to Go to Trial

After being arraigned and pleading “not guilty”, the next major decision is whether to take your case to trial or try to reach a plea agreement with the prosecution. There are a few key factors to consider (see discussions on Reddit):

  • The strength of the prosecution’s case against you
  • The potential penalties you face if convicted
  • Your legal rights and defenses
  • The plea deal offered by the prosecution

Consulting with an experienced Queens criminal defense attorney is strongly recommended when weighing your options. An attorney can assess the evidence, identify defenses that could lead to an acquittal at trial, and advise if a plea bargain would be in your best interest (see analysis from lawyers on Avvo).

Pre-Trial Proceedings

If you decide to take your case to trial, your attorney will engage in pre-trial activities including:

  • Discovery – Your attorney can request evidence from the prosecution, including police reports, witness statements, forensic analysis reports, etc. This allows you to understand the case against you.
  • Pre-trial motions – Your attorney may make motions to suppress evidence, dismiss charges, or otherwise strengthen your position going into trial.
  • Plea negotiations – The prosecution may make plea bargain offers right up until trial begins.
  • Subpoenas – Your attorney can subpoena witnesses to compel their testimony at trial.

Thorough pre-trial preparation by an experienced attorney gives you the best chance at trial. Be sure to stay in close contact with your attorney throughout this process.

Selecting a Jury

If your Queens case will be tried in front of a jury, the trial begins with jury selection. The goal is to seat an impartial jury that has no bias regarding you or the alleged crime.

You and your attorney can question potential jurors and request the court to dismiss individuals who seem incapable of fairly deciding the case (see more details on the jury selection process).

Trial Proceedings and Protocol

The trial itself adheres to specific protocols and procedures. Understanding what to expect can help you feel more prepared:

  • The prosecutor presents their opening statement, laying out the charges against you and their evidence
  • Your defense attorney delivers an opening statement from your perspective, previewing why you should be found not guilty
  • Witnesses are called to testify, including police officers, forensic experts, eyewitnesses, etc. They are cross-examined by both attorneys.
  • Physical evidence is presented, such as documents, photos, videos, seized items, etc.
  • You have the right to testify in your own defense (or you may decline to testify so your silence can’t be used against you).
  • Closing arguments summarize the core arguments from both sides.
  • The judge provides jury instructions explaining the law and guiding how jurors should evaluate the evidence.
  • The jury deliberates privately until a unanimous verdict is reached.

This entire process is governed by precise rules of evidence and criminal procedure. An experienced trial attorney understands these rules and how to use them to your advantage (see FindLaw analysis).

Potential Trial Outcomes

There are several potential outcomes once your trial concludes:

  • Not guilty verdict – You are acquitted and the charges are dismissed. You cannot be retried.
  • Hung jury – The jury fails to reach a unanimous verdict and a mistrial is declared. Prosecutors then decide whether to retry the case.
  • Guilty verdict – You are convicted and subject to criminal penalties. Your attorney can file post-trial motions and appeal the conviction if grounds exist to dispute an unfair trial result.

The most critical factor influencing these outcomes is the strength of your defense case presented at trial. Skilled Queens criminal attorneys know how to craft the defense narrative, cross-examine witnesses, deliver powerful arguments, and sow seeds of reasonable doubt in jurors’ minds (see Reddit community perspectives).

Key Takeaways

Facing criminal charges is difficult regardless of the circumstances. If your case may be headed to trial, working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is vital.

Knowing what to expect at each stage allows you to feel empowered and avoid surprises. And perhaps most importantly, having a strategic legal advocate on your side gives you the best chance at the most favorable outcome possible.

Every case has its unique complexities, but you don’t need to go through this alone. Consult with a dedicated Queens criminal attorney to discuss your situation and options.

Resources: