From a DUI to aggravated assault, being charged with a crime is a serious matter. You’re facing many appearances in court. As you look around the courtroom, you’ll see a lot of people present. No one, however, is more important than your criminal defense attorney. He or she will act as your advocate and can have your charges reduced.
Those people who have either brought the charges against someone or had the charges brought against them during a case are called parties. Those who have pressed charges are known as the plaintiffs and those who are being sued are the defendants. In a criminal case, many times the plaintiff is the state or the people of the state. Either party can be an individual, individuals, or companies.
Each party in a law suit is privy to representation by attorneys. While not required, it is strongly encouraged. The prosecutor is the lawyer who represents the plaintiff during the trial proceedings. The defense attorney represents the defendant. Both attorneys and their counsel will be sitting towards the front of the court room directly in front of the judge. During their time in the courtroom, they will direct their comments towards the jury, witnesses, and the judge. Their objective is to either convince the jury of their client’s innocence or convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt, depending on the lawyer.
Presiding over the courtroom, the judge sits in the front of the room and faces those in attendance. A judge’s job is to hear the facts of the case, ensure that both lawyers are obeying the laws that correspond to the case, maintain order, determine whether evidence can be used in the case, instruct the jurors, and sentence the convicted criminals.
The jury is selected by both lawyers. They are to remain impartial during the court proceedings and listen to all of the evidence presented by the attorneys. Then, they are instructed by the judge on how to deliberate once the court proceedings are over. The jury will then be dismissed to deliberate. In a room together, the jury will discuss the facts of the case and come to a decision as to whether the prosecution has presented adequate evidence to convict or dismiss the defendant. Then, the verdict will be read in court.
Near the witness stand is the court reporter. This person’s job is to record everything that happens during the course of the trial. He or she types the conversations onto a stenographic machine that is later transcribed into a written report. The reporter can produce written records of the trial to either party if requested.
In the event that one of the parties participating in the trial doesn’t speak English, a court interpreter can be called in. It is the interpreter’s job to relay verbatim what is being said between the two parties. The interpreter is not allowed to re-phrase or use his or her own words to try and communicate with the other person. It is required that things are phrased word for word as spoken. It is also recorded by the court reporter.
Courtroom Clerk or Deputy
This person swears in and administers the oaths to the witnesses and helps to take care of the exhibits and evidence. It is the clerk’s job to ensure that the trial continues smoothly and that there are no issues.
If you find yourself charged with a crime, you’ll be sitting on the defense side of the courtroom. During this time, it’s important to have the right representation sitting next to you. Hiring a criminal defense attorney will ensure that you understand not only the people involved in your trial, but the proceedings themselves.
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