Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Explaining the Trial as Part of the Georgia Criminal Process

Posted by Richard Lawson | Mar 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

I've written a few blogs focusing on the Georgia Criminal Process. An arrest is debilitating. The process afterwards is just as confusing and overwhelming for most people. In fact, the majority of people get intimidated by the mere idea of going to trial. The good news is if you are armed with a top-rated Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, there's no need to worry. Our lawyers will walk you through every step of the way and help you in making the decision if a plea agreement is the best or if going to trial is a better plan for you and your case. There are two different types of trials that I've outlined below.

Jury Trial in Georgia

Most people get confused on the difference between a hearing and a jury trial in Georgia. Both are types of court appearances, but a jury trial is the final court appearance. In a jury trial the judge determine the law that is applicable to a case and the jury determines the facts of the case and applies the law as instructed by the judge.

A jury trial is where jurors decided whether the accused person, the defendant, is guilty or innocent. The 7th Amendment states that a person is entitled to a trial by a jury of their peers - this is also furthered by the Georgia Constitution which guarantees Georgia citizens a right to a jury trial. 

Some Pros and Cons with Jury Trials


  • Juries tend to be easier audiences because jurors base their decisions off of their emotions 
  • Generally, juries tend to award high verdicts 
  • The fate of your case lies with several people rather than just one


  • Typically, jury trials take much longer because of jury selection, jury instructions, etc.
  • Juries can be unpredictable because of a lack of legal training
  • Jury trials are more expensive because longer trials correlate with more attorney billing

Bench Trial in Georgia

A bench trial is similar to a jury trial, but instead of presenting to a jury, both the defense and prosecution present to the judge. The judge decides whether the accused person, the defendant, is guilty or innocent. The court will be required to follow the exact same rules in both types of trials including rules of evidence and procedure. In a bench trial, the judge not only determines the law applicable in a case, but also determines the facts.

Some Pros and Cons with Bench Trials


  • Faster case resolution - bench trials can be scheduled much easier than jury trials 
  • Judges understand technical defenses and complicated legal rules
  • Usually, judges can be more neutral than a jury 


  • One person is deciding the case 
  • Judges tend to be more analytical than emotional
  • A possible pressure for conviction as a result of politics 

In order to make the best decision about your case, you should have a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney to help you weigh out the pros and cons between a plea bargain, a jury trial, and a bench trial. Contact us today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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