Presenting the Case

Presenting your Case during the Trial

If you are represented by an attorney, you will be advised regarding the presentation of your case. If not, you need to be aware of the following:

  • The State will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you.
  • After each prosecution witness has finished giving testimony, you will have the right to cross-examine the witness. Your examination must be in the form of questions about their testimony. Do not argue with the witness. Do not attempt to tell your side of the story at this time. You will have an opportunity to tell your version of the facts later in the trial.
  • After the prosecution has presented its case, you may present your case. You have the right to call witnesses of your choosing.
  • It is at this point that you may testify on your own behalf if you desire.
  • Following the defense case, the State may, if it wishes, then present rebuttal evidence.
  • At the end of the trial, you will have an opportunity to summarize your case to the jury, or, in a non-jury case, to the Judge. At that time, you may present any arguments which are based on the evidence presented during the trial in order to show your innocence.
  • The State is required to prove the charge(s) against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • The judgment or verdict will be based on the facts and evidence presented during the trial. Only the evidence admitted by the Court and the testimony of witnesses who are under oath can be considered.
  • If you are found not guilty, the case ends. If you are found guilty, you will be sentenced. The sentencing can take place at the time you are found guilty, or on a later date.