The U.S. constitution gives an individual who has been accused of a crime numerous different rights. In order to best understand these and avoid many of the most common missteps after being accused of a crime, you need to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you walk through this case. One such right is the right to be trial by a jury of your peers. There are certain situations, however, in which you are not guaranteed this protection, this does not offend to petty offenses, for example. Petty offenses are frequently defined as those that do not carry a sentence of longer than six months of a maximum. The right to a trial by a jury means that a 12% jury has the right to a unanimous decision to acquit you or to convict you.
However, there are certain situations that allow a jury to include as few as six people. The size of the juries will depend on the severity of the charge. A lack of unanimity in many states is referred to as a home jury and will enable the defendant to go free unless a prosecutor decides to retry the case. If you have questions about whether or not your case will go before a judge or a jury, you need to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense attorney who will determine the right strategy for protecting your best interests.
The right attorney is extremely valuable as you move forward in the development of a criminal defense strategy that could help you avoid the consequences of being convicted and carry a criminal record around with you for many years to come. If you have already been accused of a crime, you should exercise your right to an attorney as soon as possible and remain silent until you have had the opportunity to talk through the entire case with a lawyer.
A trial in front of a judge might be a better option for you depending on your specific case. You should always talk first with a criminal defense lawyer so you know what to expect and don’t experience any sudden surprises in your case.