If your case goes to trial (and this will be your decision), we will be spending a lot of time together as the trial date gets closer. Preparation is very important, so I will need your full cooperation. Even the simplest of cases take two (2) or three (3) days. You will have either an eight (8) or twelve (12) person jury. All jurors must agree that you are guilty or not guilty. You are presumed to be innocent until the prosecutor convinces the jury "beyond a reasonable doubt" that you are guilty. You do not have to testify, but you can, and we certainly can call witnesses for you. Occasionally, the jury cannot decide (their decisions have to be unanimous), so the judge declares a mistrial.
IN ARIZONA, ARE ALL TRIALS JURY TRIALS OR DOES THE JUDGE TRY ME?
In the Arizona criminal system, there is a big difference between a felony and misdemeanor, and there is a big difference between a bench or judge trial and a jury trial. In any felony case, you will always get a jury trial unless the defense and the prosecution both agree to waive a jury trial. In most misdemeanors, a defendant does not get a jury trial. In fact, the Arizona legislature recently passed a law eliminating a jury trial for a first time nonextreme DUI charge.
The importance of a jury trial is that the juries in each case have no particular knowledge of the case and are not biased one way or another. Sometimes with bench trials, the judge will already be leaning one way or be in a hurry to clear his calender. With that in mind, I rarely recommend that anyone waive his or her right to a jury and proceed by bench trial instead. The procedures for a jury trial in Arizona are very similar to a federal jury trial.
Contact Vladimir Gagic at his Phoenix office today.