Do I Want the Judge or the Jury to Decide My Case?
Updated: Feb 11
Requesting Who Handles Both Parts of Your Trial
In the State of Texas, there are two parts to a trial:
Part One) The judge or the jury listens to the evidence and decides whether you are guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty, you move on to part two…
Part Two) The judge or the jury decides what punishment you should receive.
Under Texas law, you have the right to request who handles BOTH parts of your trial. In part one you can insist on a jury trial. In order to have a trial by judge, the prosecutor must agree to it. In part two, you decide who sets the punishment. The prosecutor does not have a say in part two.
There are pros and cons to each option, and what’s most beneficial will often depend on the type of charge you are facing.
Important Factors to Consider
-Does your case involve complicated facts with lots of witnesses?
-Is there a technical legal issue that is favorable to your defense?
-Are there highly emotional facts that may come out in the trial?
-Is the charge itself political or socially sensitive in your community?
-Are there incidents from your past that may put you at risk for a more severe punishment?
-Which court and Judge is your case assigned to?
-Is there media following the case?
The Strategy Depends on the Case
There are many factors that may come into play as to whether a judge or a jury should decide your case. This is an absolutely critical trial strategy question, so it is vitally important to have a defense attorney on your side who is familiar with your type of case and the particular court your case has been filed in.
At Sparks Law Firm, we have successfully defended cases in front of both judges and juries. Our strategy for your case may depend on which courtroom you find yourself in, and on the facts of your particular case. Let us help you make this incredibly important decision. Call us today for a consultation.