You always have a right to a trial. In district court, you are entitled to a jury of 6 members of the community. In circuit court, the jury panel is made up of 12 people. Before you have a trial, it is very important that you meet with your public defender several times and speak about every aspect of your case. Your lawyer cannot adequately prepare without your help, so make sure that your lawyer has current contact information for you and any potential witnesses.
Things that must happen before you have a trial:
- Tell your lawyer everything you know about your case
- Review all discovery materials with your lawyer.
- Meet with your lawyer to discuss any plea offers that the attorney has received from the prosecutor on your behalf. Do not meet with the prosecutor yourself.
- Tell your lawyer about any witnesses, and if you know, how to contact those witnesses
- Discuss your right to testify
- Discuss any potential defenses to your charges
- Discuss what your lawyer plans to argue to the jury on your behalf
- Discuss your life. This may seem unrelated, but in a criminal case your background, family and future all play an important role in your case.