Question: Can You Explain The Difference Between A Bench Trial & A Jury Trial In Georgia?
Answer: A bench trial is where the judge decides guilt or innocence, and in a jury trial, you get six jurors who decide guilt or innocence of the accused. Bench trials are generally much quicker. A bench trial may take a couple of hours. A jury trial may take a day, a day and a half, or even longer, depending on how many witnesses there are. Bench trials are usually good when there are technical defenses that we’re using. When there’s a technicality or some technical issue that we’re bringing, judges are usually good for those things. If it’s a factual dispute – we think our client is not intoxicated, he’s on video, he’s doing really well on the field, he doesn’t have any slurred speech – factual determinations are usually better with juries, so we kind of vary which kind of trial we’ll do depending on what kind of case we think we’re looking at. You get six jurors in Georgia. They typically bring out 12 to 14 to choose, and the prosecutor and the defendant both get three strikes. So they’ll bring out twelve, we’ll talk to the twelve, we’ll decide which three we don’t want, and the prosecutor decides which three they don’t want, and whoever’s left is who we get for a jury.