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Terms to Know for a Florida Criminal Law Trial

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Back To Criminal Defense Video Help Page

As the video makes clear, whether or not you go to trial for your Florida criminal law case depends on many individual factors. But if you do go to trial, it is a good idea to educate yourself about court procedures and terminology. We briefly define a few important terms below, but you should sit down with a criminal defense attorney to get a more in-depth sense of what you can expect at trial.

Acquittal. In a criminal law case, an acquittal is a judgment based on the verdict of either a jury or a judge that the defendant is not guilty of the offense(s) charged, or the finding of a judge that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction.

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Arraignment. An initial court proceeding in which the defendant will be read the charges against him or her. The defendant will then enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty to the charges.

  1. A judgment of a court that is based on the verdict of either a jury or a judge that the defendant is guilty of the offense(s) charged.
  2. Also referred to as the respondent in a criminal law case, the person against whom a criminal charge is brought.
  3. The formal decision of a court regarding the disposition of a case.

Plea agreement. Before a criminal trial, a defendant has the chance to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for the State to reduce the charges to a lesser criminal offense, or to reduce the sentence, or both. If a plea agreement is reached, there is no trial. The majority of Orlando criminal cases resolve in pleas.

Preliminary hearing. In Florida criminal law, a defendant has the right to a preliminary hearing within 21 days of their arrest. At this time, the prosecution will go over their case, and the judge will decide whether there is evidence to warrant that the case needs to go to trial.

Motion to dismiss. This will not happen in every Florida criminal trial, but if your defense attorney thinks that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove you are guilty, they can move to dismiss the charges against you.

Direct examination. During a criminal trial, a witness is interviewed by the attorney who called him or her to the stand.

Cross-examination. During a criminal trial, the defense attorney can interview a witness called by the prosecution, and vice versa.

Rebuttal. The prosecution and the defense attorney will both have the opportunity to respond to statements made by the other in the Florida criminal law case.

Mistrial. An invalid trial, caused by a procedural error or other fundamental problem. When a mistrial is declared, the trial ends and must then start over from the beginning with the selection of a new jury.

Post-trial motions. If the jury finds the defendant guilty, the defense attorney will often make a post-trial motion, and the judge must either deny the motion or override the jury and grant a new trial. It is relatively rare for a judge to override the jury once they have reached a verdict.

Learn More about Your Orlando Criminal Law Case

Do not let your case go to court without the help of an experienced attorney. We understand the seriousness of these charges and are here to help and protect you. Contact TK Law to find out more specific information about what our criminal defense attorneys can do to resolve your case.

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