One of the fundamental rights of a person who is charged with a crime is that they can have a jury trial. What some people might not realize is that this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. There are some cases in which a defendant might not be able to have one, but they may have a bench trial instead. A bench trial is one in which each side presents their case to the judge. That judge then decides the outcome of the case.
Typically, a person facing a felony will be able to have a jury trial because felony charges are associated with incarceration periods of more than six months. The right to a trial before your peers is only guaranteed to serious offenses, which has been classified as one that has a possible incarceration of at least that period. This has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
A person facing a drug charge should find out if they are able to have a jury trial. This factor might have an impact on their defense strategy. If the person is a juvenile, they aren’t going to have a jury trial since all of these are handled in bench trials because it isn’t possible to find a jury of peers that is mature enough to make decisions that impact a person’s life.
You also have to consider the alternatives to a trial. Some defendants opt for plea deals or alternative options like drug court. Making the decision that best suits your life is imperative, so consider the possible courses of action carefully.