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What to Expect During a Criminal Trial

Though states and local governments may tweak the criminal trial process, most criminal trials follow uniform steps in the process. There are potential landmines in each step, so The Lopes Law Firm recommends that anyone facing criminal charges hire an attorney as soon as possible. We are skilled at every step of the process. Here are the steps to expect during a criminal trial.

Judge or Jury Trial

Criminal defendants have a right to a jury trial, though that isn't always the wisest choice. Attorney Lopes assist defendants in this critical choice—whether to seek a judge or a jury trial or whether to enter into a plea agreement. In a jury trial, a jury there is an additional step, as a jury will have to be selected.

Evidence Requests

The prosecution and our firm will make requests to admit or exclude certain pieces of evidence.

Opening Statements

Each side makes a statement outlining what they hope to prove during the trial. Both statements can be made at the start of trial.  Attorney Lopes will decide whether to make an opening statement immediately after the prosecution's statement or whether to wait until it's time for the defense to present our case.

Prosecution Presents

Through witness testimony, the prosecution will lay out its case against a criminal defendant. We will have the opportunity to cross-examine each witness along the way. Once the prosecution has finished laying out its case, the Attorney Lopes can request a motion to dismiss based on a lack of evidence.

Defense Presents

If the judge doesn't grant our motion to dismiss, it's now our turn to present the defense's case through witness testimony. The prosecution can cross-examine defense witnesses during this time.

Closing Arguments

Both sides will have the chance to make a closing statement. The prosecution goes first and generally summarizes its case a final time. As your defense attorneys, we will present a closing statement next. We generally use this time to explain why, legally, the jury must acquit our defendant.

Jury Deliberations

During a jury trial, the judge will give the jurists instructions about how to deliberate. Juries can declare a defendant guilty or not guilty. If enough jurists cannot reach agreement, a hung jury may result.


If a jury determines that a defendant is guilty, the judge will sentence the defendant. This could happen immediately after the jury reads a verdict, or there may be a separate sentencing hearing. At every step,  The Lopes Law Firm is there to assist. Contact our office at (404) 589-9000 or request a consultation today!