Criminal Procedures

Trial Process

What happens at the start of a criminal trial?

Just as in a typical civil case, the attorneys begin with opening statements. The prosecution goes first and then the defense attorney follows. The opening statements do not contain evidence, as the introduction of evidence is not allowed. A good opening statement attracts the attention of the jury members and sets the stage for the attorneys’ case-in-chief.

After the prosecution makes their opening statement, the defense usually makes their opening statement. However, many jurisdictions’ court rules allow a defense attorney to choose whether to make their opening statement right after the prosecution’s opening statement or to delay their opening statement until after the prosecution has presented its case.


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