In felony cases your first appearance will be for the preliminary examination. It is not a trial, it is a hearing at which a judge determines whether the defendant should stand trial in Superior Court. Normally only a part of the evidence is presented at this time.
The trial of a felony case will ordinarily occur from one to three months after the preliminary hearing. In some exceptional cases it will be longer. Witnesses must testify at a trial, even though they were thoroughly questioned at the preliminary hearing. Often, the defendant will plead guilty after the preliminary hearing and you will not receive a second subpoena.
In misdemeanor cases there is only one hearing and no preliminary hearing; therefore your testimony will be required only once. Your subpoena will indicate the type of hearing at which you will be appearing.
Parts of a Jury Trial
- The jury is selected
- The prosecutor gives an opening statement to outline the case and evidence to the jury
- The defense may give a similar opening statement, or wait until later in the trial
- The prosecutor calls witnesses, which the defense may cross examine
- The defense may call witnesses, which the prosecutor may cross examine
- The prosecutor may present rebuttal witnesses / evidence to challenge the evidence presented by the defendant
- The prosecutor presents a closing argument to the jury
- The defense presents a closing argument to the jury
- The prosecutor presents a rebuttal argument to respond to the defense closing argument
- The judge gives the jury detailed legal instructions about the charged crimes, the deliberation process, etc.
- The jury deliberates and returns a verdict