Bench Trials Are Different from Jury Trials
Video Transcribed: What is a bench trial? My name is Jason Sorenson. I’m an attorney in Oklahoma at Wirth Law Office
Today we’re going to be talking about what a bench trial is. So in a traditional case, you have 12 jurors. Well, 12 for felony cases, six for misdemeanor cases, but you have jurors that are the deciders of fact. They’re the ones who decide whether the defendant is innocent or guilty. And it’s the prosecutor that tries to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, but then it’s up to the jurors to decide whether they side with the prosecutor or whether they side with the defense.
So in a bench trial, there’s no jury. There’s no group of six people or 12 people that are trying to decide whether they believe the prosecutor or whether they believe the defendant. Instead, the case is decided by a judge.
Okay, so a jury trial is decided by the jury, and the bench trial is decided by a judge. So the bench trial, you waive your right to a jury, and instead, it’s the judge who is the trier of fact. They’re the ones that decide what the facts are. They’re the ones that decide whether the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But usually, both sides have to agree to waive the jury and have a bench trial instead. But in some cases, it can be beneficial to have a judge rather than a jury, but in others, it’s more beneficial to have the jury be the deciders of fact. But really, you should talk to your attorney and see which is better for your case in particular.
If you want more information on this, you can visit makelaweasy.com. Or if you need help with a criminal case, you can give us a call at Wirth Law Office to get in touch with a Tulsa criminal defense lawyer.