Timothy O. McCalep

Know the difference between grand juries and trial juries

Facing criminal charges means that you need to learn a few facts about the criminal justice system. One is the difference between a trial jury and a grand jury. While both of these serve important purposes in the criminal justice system, they are very different.

During the criminal justice process, both of these juries convene at different times. A grand jury convenes before the charges are levied, as its purpose is to determine the strength of the prosecutor's case. The trial jury comes into the picture at the end of the process. This jury determines the fate of the defendant based on the evidence presented.

A grand jury is a much larger body of jurors. It may have as many as 23 people on it. Trial juries usually have six to 12 members. The grand jury members serve long terms on the jury, but they don't convene on a daily basis. Trial jury members meet each day that the trial is going on. However, most trial jurors only hear a single case during their stint.

You should note that not all cases will go through these juries. Some criminal cases might not ever be before either type of jury. Some cases will go before both. If your case is being presented to either jury, you should understand the purpose of the jury. Find out what, if anything, you need to do as your case is heard. In the case of the grand jury, you might not need to do anything. You should prepare your defense if your case is going before a trial jury.

Source: FindLaw, "What's the Difference Between a Grand Jury and a Trial Jury?," accessed Dec. 07, 2017

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