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What is the difference between a jury trial and a bench trial?

A bench trial means that the judge is the trier of fact and the judge is also the person who determines the law in the case. So, you will not be in front of a jury or in front of a panel of your peers. According to HG Legal, the judge will be the only person who will be deciding your fate. A jury trial means that there are a number of jurors that are chosen, and you and your lawyer should have some discussions about how jurors are chosen for your jury trial. Depending on the jurisdiction of your case for your court, there will be either six jurors and magistrate for municipal court level events, or there will be 12 jurors chosen for a general sessions offense.

These jurors will be the people who determine whether or not you are guilty or innocent. There will also be possibly an alternate to either the six or 12 jurors depending on the court or the judge. There could be some alternates that step in if something happens to some of the chosen jurors. If they end up not needing that alternate juror, then that person would be excused or be able to leave once the deliberations begin and they would not be involved in the jury deliberation.

Basically, once these jurors make a unanimous decision, either all six jurors and the magistrate or municipal court and all 12 jurors in the general sessions court, the verdict form will be given to the court or to the judge and read aloud. The verdict form will be either guilty or not guilty on whatever charges and counts you are being accused of, and it could be at that time or at a later time.