Every criminal defendant heads into trial hoping for an acquittal. If acquitted, the defendant walks away with a clear name. Acquittal is the official finding that the defendant is not guilty of the charge as defined by the law. But acquittals are relatively rare, and most people have one primary concern when they are considering trial; what are my chances of being acquitted?
While answering this question with any level of accuracy would take an in-depth review of the facts of your case with a Texas criminal trial attorney, below are some of the factors that can influence your chances of acquittal.
Who Is the Decision-Maker?
In many cases, criminal defendants may decide who the decision-maker(s) will be. In a jury trial, the jury decides on the defendant’s guilt or innocence. The judge decides in a bench trial. And, unique to Texas criminal trials is that the defendant may have the option to have a jury determine his or her sentence, too.
A guilty verdict is far more likely at a jury trial than an acquittal. Jurors must come to an agreement based solely on the consideration of the arguments presented, the evidence and the rules of the law, which is explained by the judge.
The jury must come to a unanimous verdict, which could be difficult depending on the strength and credibility of the evidence. Conversely, civil trials only require five-sixths agreement from the jurors for a legally valid verdict. Evidence plays a significant role in helping juries come to a verdict. The burden of proof in criminal trials, which lands on the attorney for the State, is beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard of proof and one that isn’t always easily met. If the prosecuting attorney cannot meet this standard in your trial, the jury may acquit you.
To temper the chances the jurors are biased, both the defense attorney and the attorney for the state have a hand in the juror selection process, called voir dire. Ultimately, who has the authority to decide on your guilt or innocence and your sentence could impact your chances of acquittal at trial. A good Texas criminal trial attorney will be skilled in questioning and vetting ideal jurors for your specific case. Don’t overlook the importance of this process. When the odds are against you, every strength you can leverage can make a difference.
Appealing the Verdict
Another important thing to keep in mind is if you are not acquitted at trial, you have a right to take your case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court of Criminal Appeals has the authority to “overturn” the trial court’s decision. However, the appellate court will only be looking for procedural oversights and mistakes. It will not issue a verdict like the trial court would.
You should discuss the possibility of appealing your trial verdict with a criminal trial attorney. The majority of appeals do not fall in the defendant’s favor. On the same hand, the majority of trials result in guilty verdicts. But what matters more than statistics and odds are the specifics of your case. Speak with a Dallas criminal trial attorney about your chances of acquittal. In certain cases, trial is the best way to achieve a fair and just outcome.
If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on how strong your case is and whether trial is right for you. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.