May 18, 2022 | Court
The right to have our criminal case heard by a jury of our peers is a fundamental element of our judicial system in the United States. Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure state that a defendant has the right to a trial by jury.
Criminal Jury Trials in Cincinnati, Ohio
In Ohio, criminal juries hear all types of criminal offenses, including drug crimes, theft, DUI cases, homicide, sex crimes, and weapons charges. The prosecutor and the criminal defense lawyer present testimony, evidence, and arguments for and against conviction.
A judge presides over the trial. The judge decides matters of law.
The jurors are the triers of fact. The jurors listen to the evidence and deliberate in secret. The jurors may believe or not believe any of the evidence that either side presented during the trial.
A juror must be convinced that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It is a high standard of proof for the state to meet because a person’s freedom and life are at stake. The state must convince each juror that there is no other reasonable explanation for the evidence presented at trial other than the defendant is guilty of the crime.
A criminal jury must return a unanimous verdict. Even if one juror believes there is reasonable doubt or that the defendant did not commit the crime, the defendant cannot be found guilty. The jury is said to be a “hung jury.”
What Is the Effect of a Hung Jury on a Criminal Case?
If the juror cannot agree on the defendant’s guilt or innocence, the judge might direct the jurors to return to the jury room for additional deliberation. However, if the jurors still cannot agree unanimously to convict or acquit the defendant, the judge has no other choice but to declare a mistrial.
A mistrial occurs when the trial is inconclusive. It is as if the trial never occurred. Double jeopardy does not apply because the trial did not have an outcome. Therefore, the state has three options when they have a hung jury:
Go Back to Trial Again
The prosecutor may decide it is in the public’s best interest to try the defendant again for the crimes. An entirely new jury is chosen, and the trial begins again.
After a hung jury, the prosecutor and the defense may recognize weaknesses and strengths they can exploit during the new trial.
Negotiate a Plea Bargain
The parties may decide that it is in their best interest to resolve the criminal charges by negotiating a plea bargain. The defendant may not want to risk that another jury might find him guilty of the crime. Likewise, the prosecutor may not want to risk another hung jury.
The result can be a plea agreement that is a compromise between the parties. The prosecution may not get the outcome it desired. The defendant pleads guilty and is punished for the crime, but not as severely as the punishment might have been had a jury found him guilty at trial.
Dismiss the Charges
The state might not believe that it can win if it goes back to trial again. If the defendant does not want to negotiate a plea deal, the prosecutor might dismiss the criminal charges against the defendant.
Charges dismissed without prejudice mean that the state could charge the person with the same crime at a later time. Charges dismissed with prejudice mean the defendant cannot be prosecuted for that crime again. Therefore, the defendant always wants the charges dismissed with prejudice.
Benefits of Hiring a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer
Whenever someone faces criminal charges or is being investigated by state or federal law enforcement agencies, they need experienced legal counsel. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors believe you are guilty. They are not searching for the truth because they only want a conviction.
Therefore, you need someone advocating for you. You need a criminal defense lawyer to investigate the charges against you to gather evidence and develop a defense strategy. Having a legal team working on your case from the beginning gives you a better chance of beating criminal charges.
If the police arrest you for a crime, do not talk to the police or a prosecutor without a lawyer present. It is never in your best interest to answer questions or make a statement without a lawyer. Instead, remain calm and quiet until you meet with a criminal lawyer.
Contact the Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202