Jury Trials

I believe that the right to trial by a jury of your peers is the most important right that we have in this country.

There are ethical prosecutors who carefully examine the evidence in their cases, and there are judges who are truly neutral in their decision-making process, but there are also times when the only thing standing between a criminal defendant and a terrible injustice is 12 jurors.

In a system where the government has seemingly unlimited resources at their disposal with which to seek a conviction, the jury has the power to shut them down with two simple words.

What Is the Right to a Trial by Jury?

The right to a jury trial also encompasses many other rights that are given to every citizen by our Constitution, like:

  • Proof beyond any reasonable doubt: If the government wants to convict a person of a crime, they must prove every element of the crime beyond any reasonable doubt, which is a higher standard than is used in any other type of case.
  • The burden of proof is on the government: You don't have to prove your innocence to the jury - the government always has the burden of proof.
  • The right to present a complete defense: Although you do not have the burden of proof, you still have the right to present your defense to the jury.
  • The right to submit evidence: You have the right to call witnesses on your behalf and to introduce your own evidence at trial.
  • The right to remain silent: You do not have to say a word during your trial.
  • The right to testify in your own defense: You have the absolute right to testify to the jury if you choose to.
  • The right to compulsory process: You can issue subpoenas to force witnesses to come to court, and to force them to bring evidence with them.
  • The right of confrontation: You have the right to confront your witnesses during your trial, and subject them to a vigorous cross-examination.
Pretrial Motions in SC Criminal Trials

At the beginning of your trial, the court will hear any remaining pretrial motions and rule on them. Sometimes your trial will stop right there, because some pretrial motions result in your winning your case if they are granted.

What Should I Expect During a SC Criminal Trial?

After pretrial motions have been heard, your lawyer and the prosecutor will then choose the jury. The jurors are chosen at random, but you have the option of "striking" undesirable jurors during the selection process.

The prosecutor and your defense attorney will give opening statements, telling the jury their theory of the case. Then the government will put on its case to the jury, calling witnesses and introducing their evidence. After they finish, your lawyer will present your case to the jury.

At the end of the trial, your defense attorney and the prosecutor make closing arguments to the jury and the judge will instruct the jurors on the law that they are to follow.

All 12 jurors must vote guilty for you to be convicted. All 12 must vote not guilty for you to be acquitted. If the jurors cannot agree on a unanimous verdict, the judge will declare a mistrial, at which point the prosecutor can retry the case if they choose to.

SC Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer in Myrtle Beach, Lexington, and Columbia

Do not call our office and ask if I can represent you at your guilty plea, because I most likely will not accept your case. Although your case may end in a guilty plea, you and your lawyer must be willing and prepared to take your case to trial to get the best outcome possible.

If you have been charged with a crime and are willing to take your case to trial if necessary, call the Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm at (843) 444-6122 or contact us online to set up a free consultation about your case.

Client Reviews
Mindi and Laura were an amazing team team in helping my son with a traffic violation. There responsiveness from answering my phone call, to being able to pay the invoice online, showing up to court and representing my son for a ticket in less than 24 hours. Not to mention successfully having the ticket dismissed. The process was explained to us clearly each step of the way. This allowed us to prepare for any possible ramifications as well being patient with any questions we may have had. Even if the ticket did not get dismissed the care and attention they showed towards my son's situation made us feel very safe in their good hands for this legal matter. N. Jones
I retained Lacey Thompson & Hiller, defense firm for a difficult domestic violence case. She provided a strategy that won my case. Her legal skills are great, but just as important she's a supportive attorney who truly cares and her advice was spot on. I'll always be thankful. Besides Lacey, all the staff that I worked with at Thompson & Hiller firm were terrific: competent, professional, and personable. I recommend Lacey Thompson to everybody who needs a defense attorney. Anonymous
Attorney Laura Hiller, assisted me in 2013 by representing my daughter who at the time was only (14) years old in a juvenile criminal case being tried as an adult. The State charged her with murder. The claims at the time were completely shocking to myself and my daughter at the time and I wasn't sure what to do or who I needed to assist me with this. That's when I met Laura, who in all honesty kept me sane and hopeful through the entire process. She was so thorough when it came to gathering all information from all parties involved, aggressive when stepping into the courtroom, and behind the scenes. Most importantly though she was invested in proving my daughters innocence and I will forever be grateful for her and her work. My daughter's case was dismissed! Definitely who you want in your corner, whether the case is big or small. L.P.M.