What is a trial?

Although most defendants plead guilty before trial, some cases do go to trial. At trial, the prosecutor has the burden of presenting evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the charged offense or offenses. The defendant does not have to prove, or disprove, anything at trial.

Evidence at trial many include testimony of witnesses; physical evidence, such as a gun; photographs or videos; and scientific evidence. For felonies and most misdemeanors, the defendant has the right to a jury trial or a trial to be decided by the judge (called a non-jury or bench trial), at the defendant’s option. For traffic infractions and violations, the judge will always decide the guilt or non-guilt of the defendant.

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1. What types of offenses are there in New York?
2. What happens when someone is arrested?
3. What is the function of the District Attorney?
4. What is an arraignment?
5. What is bail and how is it set?
6. What happens to a misdemeanor or violation case after arraignment?
7. What happens to a felony case after arraignment?
8. Are grand jury proceedings open to the public?
9. What happens after a grand jury votes an indictment?
10. What is a trial?
11. What are the stages of a trial?
12. What types of sentences may be imposed if a person pleads guilty or is found guilty after a trial?
13. Can a convicted defendant or the District Attorney take a case to a higher court?