5 Different Outcomes Of A Criminal Trial

orange jump suit courtroom

It’s almost impossible to predict how a criminal court trial will end. Although crimes are easily categorized, not everyone charged with the same crime will have the same results. Every case is unique and there are a lot of factors that come into play. The facts of the case, the defendant’s criminal history, the attorneys, and the judge assigned to the case could heavily impact the proceedings. 

Here are five possible ways a criminal trial may conclude:

1. Prosecution Drops The Charges

In some cases, the case never makes it to trial because the prosecuting attorney decides to officially drop the charges. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as lack of evidence, inadmissible evidence, the victim or witness refuses to participate in the case, or the victim chose not to push through with the charges.

If this happens, the defendant will not be convicted of the crime. However, the charges will still stand and the defendant will not be cleared of their criminal record. The prosecution may choose to file the case again once they have gathered concrete evidence or secured witnesses. If the defendant wishes to have the charges removed from their record, they will need to petition for expungement.

2. Defendant Pleads Guilty

Under the advice of an attorney, the defendant may plead guilty at the arraignment. This happens when the defense attorney and prosecuting attorney have worked out a mutually beneficial plea bargain. The defendant pleads guilty to the charges in exchange for less severe punishment.

The defendant then appears in front of a judge for the plea bargain to be officially part of the court records. The defendant testifies under oath, confirms pleading guilty to the charges against them, gives verbal confirmation to the judge that they are aware of their charges and the consequences of their plead, and waives their right to a jury trial.

Most of the time, the judge accepts the plea bargain and makes adjustments to the proposed sentence according to the recommendations of both parties.

3. Defendant Receives A Guilty Verdict

If the defendant doesn’t plead guilty, the case goes to trial. Both the prosecution and defense have an opportunity to present statements, evidence, and witnesses before the judge. If the court finds that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant will receive a sentence.

The defendant will have to attend a sentencing hearing where the judge will give a sentence based on several factors. These include, but are not limited to, the state sentencing guidelines, the nature of the crime, and the defendant’s criminal record. A sentence usually comes in the form of imprisonment, the length of which depends upon the findings of the judge.

In some cases, a defendant gets sentenced to a probation period instead of being sent to jail. This usually happens when the defendant is a first-time offender or when the crime committed is not violent or severe. Probation rules are different for each jurisdiction. For those under the jurisdiction of Florida, The Hardy Law Firm laid out the standard conditions of probation. Moreover, the defendant may be required to pay a monetary fine, perform community service, and/or undergo rehabilitation.

A defendant found guilty of a crime may petition for a retrial and appeal the verdict of the court. Once the defense attorney establishes that there are strong grounds to overturn the verdict, they will go through a series of hearings in an appellate court. 

4. Defendant Receives A Not Guilty Verdict

If the court finds the defendant not guilty of the alleged crime, they are immediately released from custody. The defendant is also protected by the ‘double jeopardy’ condition in the United States Constitution, which states that a person cannot be tried twice for the same charge.

In addition, the defendant may file a petition to the court to expunge the criminal charges from their record.

5. Judge Declares A Mistrial

A mistrial is a court trial that has been considered invalid or cannot be completed. Both the prosecution and defense may request for a mistrial if they find any of the following: misconduct by a member of the jury, inability of the jury to reach a verdict, violation of the defendant’s right to fair trial, or other court errors.

When the judge grants a request for a mistrial, the prosecution may drop the charges against the defendant. They may also file the case again as long as it doesn’t violate the double jeopardy rule.


No two criminal trials are guaranteed to have the same results even if the cases are similar. Depending on several factors, a criminal trial might end with the prosecution dropping the charges, the defendant pleading guilty, the defendant receiving either a guilty or not guilty verdict or the judge declaring a mistrial. When involved in a criminal case, it’s best to get the help of professional lawyers who can represent you well in court. 


A93820014BS Abu Dhabi accidents ACLU ACS Advertising Aha Mobile AI Airsage ALPR ALPR Cameras Android Apple Arizona Atlanta ATS Attorney Australia Auto Insurance average speed cameras Baltimore Belgium Beltronics Bikes Bribe Brooklyn Buy Buying California Camera Vans Canada carplay Carpool Cars CDOT cell phone Chicago City Council Class Action Cobra Colorado Connected Signals Connecticut construction contracts Corruption courtesty notice courtesy notice Crashes crime Crosswalk crowdsourcing Culver City Dangerous Intersections Dash Cam Data Database Des Moines Distracted Drivers DIY DOT download Drivers License Driving Instructor Drowsy Drunk Drivers Dubai DUI E-ZPass England Escort Europe Facial Recognition failure to stop Fake Cameras FasTrak Fighting Tickets Finance Fines Fleets Florida FOIA Ford France freedom of information act request Garmin Gatso Georgia Germany Ghost Glendale Google Google Maps Government GPS Angel GPS Navigation Guest Writer Hawaii Here Highway Robbery Highways HOV Cameras How To humor Illinois Injury Inrix Insignia Instagram Insurance Insurenet iOS IOT Iowa iphone iRadar Ireland Italy Iteris Joe Biden Laser Craft Law Suit Laws lawyer Left Turns legal Legislation License Plate Local London Long Beach Los Angeles Loud Exhaust Louisiana LPR Cameras Lyft Machine Learning Magellan Maine Maintenance Manhattan maps Marketing Maryland Massachusetts Microsoft Minnesota Missouri Mitac Mobile Ads Mobile Apps mobile speed zone Motorcycle MTA Navigation Navigon Navteq Nestor Netherlands New Jersey New Mexico New Orleans New York New Zealand News NHTSA Nokia NTSB Oahu Oakland Ohio Oregon Parking Parking Tickets Parks Peasy Pennsylvania Phantom Alert Philadelphia Phoenix Photo Notice photographs POI Points Poland police Politics Poll Portugal Privacy Progressive Web App Protest Radar Railroad Reckless Driving red light cameras RedFlex RedSpeed redzone refunds Removing rental car tickets Repairs research revenue Rhode Island Ridesharing Right Turns rolling right turns Russia Sacramento Safe Speed Safety Safety Cameras San Diego San Francisco San Jose Scam Schools Seat Belt Seattle secutity settlement Shutting Down signs Singapore Snitch Tickets solar Sound Cameras Spain speed cameras Speed Vans State Ban stop sign cameras Street View Students subpoena Subscription Supreme Court Surveillance Switzerland Taxi Technology TeleAtlas Telematics Tennessee Tesla Texas Texting Tickets Tips Toll Road TomTom Tracking Traffic traffic attorney Traffic Camera Traffic Lights Traffic Safety Traffic School traffic tickets Traffic.com Trapster Trial by Written Declaration Trinity Trucking trucks UAE Uber UK Unpaid Ticket Vehicle Occupancy Verra Mobility video Vigilant Violation Fines Violation Info Violation Speed Virginia Vision Zero Voters warning devices warning notice Washington Washington DC Waze Wikango Xerox Yellow Lights YouTube