When you have been arrested and charged with a crime in the Miami, Florida area, you will be entered into the criminal court system and subject to a series of court processes to determine if it’s provable that you committed the crime, and if so, for what legal penalty you will be held liable. Ultimately, you will move toward a court verdict provided by the judge or jury, which your criminal defense attorneys will try to persuade on your behalf.
The Process of a Criminal Court Case in Miami, Florida
In a standard criminal trial involving a jury, attorneys from both sides will present opening statements, call witnesses, cross-examine those witnesses (in which each opposing side has the chance to ask questions of the other side’s witnesses) after the arguments have been heard from both sides, and then make closing statements.
At this time, the presiding judge will give the jury detailed instructions on the deliberation process, the legal standard of guilt and the crimes of which you have been accused. The jury will then deliberate and return with a court verdict, which must be unanimous in a criminal case.
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The court verdict is read and determines guilt, announcing each of the charges and their separate and individual verdicts. “Guilty” means that the jury has determined that the evidence presented indicates that the defendant is guilty of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. A guilty verdict is not the end of the case, however. After that, sentencing still has to take place.
The judge will provide the jury with detailed sentencing instructions, advising the minimum and maximum penalties (if they exist) for the crimes associated with the case. At that point, the jury will deliberate the sentencing and make its recommendation in a separate hearing.
When the Judge Can Reverse the Jury’s Court Verdict
In a traditional criminal case, a jury deliberates the evidence and testimony produced in the trial process to determine whether or not the prosecution has met its burden of proof. In some instances and certain jurisdictions, however, a judge can reverse the jury’s court verdict.
This is the only exception to a jury’s court verdict inFlorida, and it is widely known as a judicial override. An override can be used in several instances, most notably when the judge believes the jurors, or even a single juror, did not adhere to the instructions given to the jury prior to sentencing. When this happens, a mistrial is declared, and the case must be tried again.
In other instances of override, a judge may set aside a jury’s sentence recommendation and prescribe his or her own. This is most commonly used in capital cases that may include the death penalty as punishment. Judicial override can be used to impose a death penalty when the jurors have recommended life in prison, or vice versa.
In Florida, however, judicial override is most often used to impose a life sentence when the jury recommends the death penalty. Since 1999, no one has been sentenced to death as a result of judicial override inFlorida.
If you or someone you know has been arrested on criminal charges, it’s important to reach out to a lawyer from a dedicated firm of criminal defense attorneys who understand how to prove the validity of your side of the case before both judge and jury. Once you have received a verdict, you’re stuck with it because the likelihood of successfully appealing a criminal case is notoriously and extremely low. For this reason, it’s vital that you speak with a criminal defense attorney who has handled cases similar to yours and can help you prepare for trial.
Contact a Team of Miami, Florida, Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been arrested as a suspect involved in the commission of a crime against Floridalaws, you should contact a lawyer from a dedicated team of criminal defense attorneys immediately. The sooner that a lawyer becomes involved on your behalf, the more likely it is that your lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced, sentence suspended or in certain instances, have your case dropped altogether. Consult a Miami, Florida, attorney about your case today.