Facing criminal charges is something that can either go very quickly or it can take time. One of the factors that determines how quickly a case moves through the criminal justice system is the jury. There are actually two different types of juries that can be a part of cases that are moving through the criminal justice system — trial juries and grand juries. It is important that you understand the role each jury has because they are very different.
The grand jury is a large jury that can hear criminal cases to determine if a person should face criminal charges. Unlike trial juries, these juries don’t give verdicts that are absolute. Instead, the 23-member jury gives the prosecution an opinion about whether a case would succeed in a criminal trial. When the grand jury gives an opinion, the prosecution can go with that opinion or the prosecution can decide to go against the grand jury recommendation.
A trial jury is a smaller jury that determines if a person is guilty or not guilty. Typically, there are six to 10 members of a trial jury. These people listen to the facts of the case as they are presented by the prosecution and defense. They look at the evidence that is presented. When the closing arguments are finished, the jury receives instructions and deliberates. The determination they come to is final. It is possible to appeal, but that decision will remain a key part of the appeal.
You should know what rights you have throughout the entire criminal justice system process. Each decision you make can have an impact on the outcome of your case, so be sure you understand the way each choice can affect you.
Source: FindLaw, “What’s the Difference Between a Grand Jury and a Trial Jury?,” accessed Sep. 16, 2016