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What to Expect at Trial

Roth Legal, A Professional Law Corporation Sept. 12, 2023

Witness swearing on the bible telling the truthAfter a criminal arrest in California, the alleged defendant must pass through the criminal court process to determine whether they are guilty or not. If the case is not settled during the pretrial proceedings or an agreement is not reached through a plea bargain, the case will proceed to the trial phase. Thus, when facing criminal charges in California, knowing what to expect at trial is imperative to build your case and determine the necessary steps to take. 

Attorney Ryan Roth is ready and poised to defend and represent clients in their criminal cases. As a highly skilled California criminal defense attorney, Ryan can investigate all the facts of your case, enlighten you about the state’s criminal trial process, and strategize a strong defense to help fight your charges. Roth Legal, A Professional Law Corporation proudly serves clients across Modesto, Stockton, Merced, Manteca, and surrounding communities throughout California. 

Understanding the Criminal Trial Process

Once the police receive a report of a crime or violation, an investigation will be conducted, and an arrest will be made. After an arrest, the defendant will be arraigned in court – where the judge will read your charges to you and inform you of your rights. In addition, the judge will ask you to plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest). 

If you plead not guilty, the case will proceed to pretrial proceedings. Pretrial usually involves court appearances, discovery, motions, interrogatories, and negotiations or plea deals. Cases not resolved during the pretrial will proceed to the trial phase. The criminal trial may either be a bench trial or a jury trial comprising 12 members. 

Defendants who are found guilty during trial will be sentenced accordingly. Therefore, if you have been arrested and charged with a crime in California, you need to retain a dependable attorney as soon as possible to uphold your rights and guide you through the trial phase. 

Steps to Take Before Your Trial

When facing criminal charges in California, you should take the following steps before you proceed to the trial phase: 

  • Retain a seasoned lawyer to handle your case. 

  • Read and understand the complaints thoroughly. 

  • Know the nature and severity of your charges and potential penalties. 

  • Collect and document significant evidence and facts 

  • Gather witness statements and testimonies 

  • Prepare for the pretrial hearings 

On the day of the court trial, ensure that you arrive at the court as early as possible. Also, stay calm and be properly prepared for the trial process. A lawyer can enlighten you about what to expect and coach you extensively for the trial phase. 

What to Expect at Your Trial

The following is what you should expect during a criminal trial in California: 

Jury Selection

The trial begins with the selection of the jury. A panel of potential jurors will be sent to the courtroom for questioning. At the end of the selection process, 12 members of the community will be accepted as jurors for the criminal trial. 

Opening Statements

Once the trial starts, the prosecution attorney and the defense lawyer will make their opening statements. This will inform the court about the criminal case and what the evidence and facts are expected to prove. 

Presentation of Evidence 

The defense counsel and prosecutor will provide evidence and exhibits to establish or disprove the facts of the case and charges against the defendant. Also, the attorneys may submit physical evidence and written documents or call upon witnesses to testify under oath – about what they saw or heard. 

Closing Statements

Once the court has examined all the evidence, witness statements, and other case facts, both the prosecutor and defense counsel will give their closing statements or final case summary. The closing statement is both attorney’s last effort to convince the judge or jury about the case. 

Jury Deliberations and Verdict

After the closing arguments, the jury will move to the jury room to deliberate on the case and reach a verdict. The judge or jury’s verdict will determine if the accused person is guilty or innocent. 

Steps to Take Following Your Trial

Once the judge or jury reaches a verdict at the criminal trial, you may still need to take some steps based on the judge’s decision. If the judge finds you not guilty, you may be discharged and acquitted. Conversely, if the judge finds you guilty, you may be sentenced right away, or another court date may be scheduled for your sentencing. 

It can be an option to appeal the guilty verdict by filing a Notice of Appeal within 30 days (misdemeanor) or 60 days (felony) of the date the judgment was issued. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can represent you intelligently at every phase of the legal process and help you achieve the most favorable outcome for your case. 

Partner With a Knowledgeable & Trustworthy Defense Attorney

When facing criminal charges in California, getting detailed guidance is paramount to understanding the trial process and ensuring effective legal representation in your case. Attorney Ryan Roth has devoted his career to protecting individuals facing criminal charges in the worst possible situation. Using his broad knowledge, Ryan can help you navigate the California criminal court system and represent you diligently at every phase of the legal process. 

Contact Roth Legal, A Professional Law Corporation, today to schedule a simple case assessment with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Ryan Roth can fight aggressively to defend your rights and increase your chances of a brighter tomorrow. The firm proudly serves clients across Modesto, Stockton, Merced, Manteca, and surrounding communities throughout California.