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3 Reasons You May Want a Bench Trial Instead of a Jury Trial.

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  • Troy
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  • September 25, 2014

3 Reasons You May Want a Bench Trial Instead of a Jury Trial.

A bench trial is a trial by judge instead of a trial by jury.  In a bench trial, a judge hears the evidence and decides who wins and who loses.  In a bench trial, the judge also hears and rules on matters of law and procedure.

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In a jury trial, the jury hears the evidence and decides who wins and who loses.  In a jury trial, the judge hears and rules on matters of law and procedure, just like in a bench trial.

There are benefits and drawbacks of each kind of trial.  Here are 3 reasons you may want a bench trial instead of a jury trial.

1. If you want a relatively quick, less expensive resolution of your case, a bench trial usually takes less time, and costs less, than a jury trial.  In a bench trial, attorneys don’t have to go through the jury selection process, and there are fewer interruptions when the court may have to excuse the jury while attorneys argue a motion or other legal matter outside their presence.

2. Jurors may not be able to understand the law, whereas the judge may be better able to comprehend and apply the law to the facts.

3. A judge may be better able to avoid deciding a criminal case based on prejudice and bias when, for example, the defendant is heavily tattooed or pierced, indicating gang affiliation.

These are not the only factors to be considered when choosing between a bench trial and a jury trial.  Your lawyer will be in the best position to help you make the selection.