Bench Trials in Columbus, Georgia

During a bench trial, a judge is the sole decision maker of the defendant’s fate; there is no jury involved.

The overall process of a bench trial, however, is similar to that of a jury trial. All evidence is presented to the judge to prove whether or not the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of committing the crimes in which he or she is charged with, and motions can be filed. Most bench trials are oftentimes a little less formal than jury trials since less people are involved.

Bench Trials vs. Jury Trials

Most state trials are bench trials, unless a jury trial is requested. On the other hand, most criminal trials are jury trials unless a bench trial is requested. There’s no set standard for which trial is preferrable, as there are pros and cons to both processes.

Pros of a Bench Trial

There are several reasons why you may want a bench trial over a jury trial:

  • Since the verdict lies in the hands of one person (the judge), cases are usually resolved more quickly in bench trials since a jury does not have to deliberate.
  • Judges are oftentimes also more neutral than juries, and are not as easily swayed by irrelevant evidence.
  • A judge is also more adept in legal jargon, so if an attorney is going to use technical terms to argue the defense, a judge may understand more than the average juror.

Cons of a Bench Trial

There are also reasons may you may not want a bench trial:

  • In a bench trial, the final verdict is determined by one person—the judge. In some cases, having a jury deliberate over a verdict may benefit the defendant more.
  • A judge may also be facing pressure to convict, meaning more guilty verdicts could aide in re-election.

An attorney will be able to help you navigate the legal process and decide which trial is right for your case. To learn more about how the attorneys at Wadkins & Wadkins can help, call (706) 221-9451 or schedule a free review online.