What to Expect During a Criminal Trial in Illinois

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Illinois, there are certain steps that will occur as part of the criminal trial process. It can be daunting to navigate the legal system without knowing what to expect, but understanding the various stages of a criminal trial can help reduce your stress and make sure you have sufficient time to prepare for what lies ahead. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of what to expect during a criminal trial in Illinois so that you have the best possible chance of success throughout the process.

What to Expect During a Criminal Trial in Illinois

The first step in a criminal trial is arraignment. During your arraignment hearing, the court will inform you of the charges against you and read them out loud. After this, you’ll be asked to enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty.” Depending on which plea you enter, your criminal case will either move forward in the trial process, or if you plead guilty, it may be resolved by the court without a full trial.

The next step is pre-trial motions. At this stage in the criminal trial process, both sides can move to suppress evidence and make other requests such as dismissal of charges or changes to scheduling dates based on constitutional violations that may have occurred. Both parties may also file additional motions such as discovery requests for pre-trial by either side during this phase.

Related: What happens if you get a DUI in Illinois when you’re under 21?

Following pretrial motions is jury selection. During jury selection, a pool of potential jurors will be chosen to hear the case. This process is designed to ensure a fair and unbiased jury that can evaluate both sides of the case in an impartial manner. Both parties may challenge potential jurors if they believe they are biased or have conflicts of interest that could affect their ability to listen to all evidence presented.

Once the jury has been selected, it’s time for opening statements where each side presents its version of the facts of the case and outlines what type of evidence they will present during trial. After this, the prosecution calls witnesses and presents evidence in support of its case while defense attorneys can cross-examine these witnesses and call their own witnesses as well as present their own evidence.

Related: What should you do if police stop and frisk you?

Following the presentation of evidence, both sides will make closing statements to summarize their cases and provide a final argument for why the jury should find in their favor. Once this is done, the jury deliberates on its verdict based on all of the evidence presented during trial. If they decide it’s more likely than not that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you may be found guilty and your case could move on to sentencing. If they determine you have not been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then you’ll be acquitted.

Related: What is attorney-client privilege, and why does it matter?

This overview provides an introduction to what to expect during a criminal trial in Illinois. While each case is unique with different outcomes possible depending on various factors, understanding these steps can help you prepare for the criminal trial process and work with your legal team to present the best defense possible.

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