July 5, 2017
Contrary to what you may have seen on television, there is nothing glamorous about a criminal trial. Rather, a criminal trial can be a very long, involved, and time-consuming process. Florida law provides for two types of criminal trials. At a criminal bench trial, the judge listens to the evidence presented during the trial and decides the case. At a criminal jury trial, however, the jury must reach a unanimous verdict and must decide the outcome of the case. Most criminal trials in Florida are jury trials, and as a criminal defendant, you will most likely be questioned by the prosecuting attorney on cross-examination.
In many cases, before trial, the prosecuting attorney will put a plea deal on the table which you can either accept or reject. By accepting a plea deal, you are essentially admitting guilt and waiving any right to an appeal. However, if you reject the plea deal, your case will go to trial.
An experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney will be able to help you decide whether or not you should accept a plea deal. If you decide to reject the plea deal, an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney can represent you at trial and at any post-trial proceedings.
Handling Cross-Examination Questions by the Prosecuting Attorney
Once jury selection has been completed, the prosecution begins its case-in-chief. During this phase, prosecuting attorney can call witnesses and offer evidence that will support the prosecution’s version of events. In some cases, the prosecutor may call the defendant as an adverse witness. In other cases, the defendant will not be called until the defense case-in-chief. Following the defense attorney’s direct examination of the defendant, the prosecutor will most likely cross-examine the defendant.
The primary purpose of cross-examination is to expose potential biases in the other side’s version of the case. Criminal defendants should keep the following in mind when responding to the prosecutor’s cross-examination questions:
- Answer with a ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ if possible.
- Keep responses short, and do not give narrative responses, if possible.
- Do not argue with the prosecutor.
- Try not to be evasive when answering the prosecutor’s questions.
- Do not tell a lie or half-truth when answering the prosecutor’s questions.
Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
Florida criminal trials can last for many days, and sometimes weeks. Our criminal defense attorneys have the legal knowledge and expertise to effectively represent you both at trial and at post-trial proceedings.