After pre-trial motions comes the trial. A trial may be by Judge or jury, the choice is up to a Defendant. A case is tried in Circuit Court and perhaps 5%-10% of cases go to trial.
A typical trial will have the State present its reasons for finding a Defendant guilty first. They will make an opening statement which will act as a sneak preview to the evidence they will put on. Then they will call their witnesses, typically arresting officers and eyewitnesses. Each witness is cross-examined by the defense. After this, the State will rest their case.
The Defendant may then present their side of the case. They can choose not to. If the defense feels that the State has not proven their case after all of the State’s evidence has been heard, then they will ask for a directed finding. Meaning that the State hasn’t proven their case, therefore the defense does not need to present a defense.
If the motion for directed finding is denied, then the defense will present their case and witnesses. After the close of the defense case, both sides will present their closing arguments.
A Judge or jury will deliberate and find the Defendant guilty or not guilty.
Assuming the finding is guilty, next comes sentencing. A Judge will look at aggravating and mitigating evidence, such as if the Defendant is a repeat offender or is an upstanding member of the community. Sentencing in Illinois is not as complex as the federal system, but it is growing.
As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call my office at 847-337-2716 or visit my web site at www.LegalDaredevil.com.