There are two separate kinds of criminal trials. All defendants have the right to a jury trial on misdemeanor and felony offenses and in almost all cases you want to have a jury trial. However, in some unique fact situations you may, after thorough analysis, decide to waive your right to a jury trial and have a trial with the judge as the sole decider of the case (Bench Trial). In a jury trial, the judge’s role is to be the “judge of the law,” while the jury is the “judge of the facts.” In a bench trial, the judge serves both of these roles. In most cases, we want a jury trial, but a bench trial might be preferable when your case is built on very technical, legal matters—since jurors often “tune out” on issues they do not understand. Another time a bench trial might be preferable is if an extensive prior criminal history will be presented. A judge may be better equipped to ignore this inflammatory evidence. A judge may also be more likely than a juror to be able to separate the notion that you “might” have committed a crime from the fact that the prosecution has not met its legal burden of proof. An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you determine which of the two criminal trials is right for your situation. If you are facing criminal charges in the Idaho Falls area, contact attorney John Cutler at Cutler Law Office, P.A. today.