If you’ve been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you’re going to stand trial if you choose not to accept a plea bargain or one is not offered to you. This is a serious accusation, and it might come complete with a rebuttal phase. Criminal trials are not to be taken lightly. The accused person is facing trial against the state or government, and the prosecuting attorney is doing everything in his or her power to ensure the person facing trial is found guilty by the jury. The prosecutor wants a guilty charge issued, and they’ll stop at nothing to prove their case. Your trial has several different stages. The prosecutor is permitted to provide evidence and speak to witnesses. Your attorney is permitted to the same. Both are permitted to discuss their own questions with the opposing counsel’s witnesses, and the prosecutor is offered something called a rebuttal phase.
What is the Rebuttal Phase of a Criminal Trial?
This is a phase that’s important to understand. It occurs following the completion of the defense attorney and prosecuting attorney’s cases. The prosecution is given this time to respond to what happened when the defense took the stage. It’s precisely what it sounds like. It’s the prosecutors chance for rebuttal following the defense attorneys case. This means the prosecutor has a chance to ask questions, to find out what something means, to argue his case against the defense attorney, and to try and bring the case back around to his way of seeing.
The biggest issue in this phase of a criminal trial is the prosecutor can bring in new witnesses not previously declared. In other parts of the trial, both counsels must provide a list of their witnesses and there are no surprises allowed. When the rebuttal phase begins, there are all kinds of surprises possible, and it’s rarely good for the defendant.
Typically, a prosecutor uses this time to discredit the evidence provided by the defense. If the defense offers an alibi, the prosecutor has the chance to say this is not true and provide his or her own evidence as to why. It’s not foolproof, but it can work to the favor of the state. If the jury is not convinced the defendant is innocent, they might decide on a guilty verdict.
On the opposite side of the same spectrum is the benefit of this phase. It might be precisely what the defense needs to make sure the jury isn’t sure. The purpose of a jury in a criminal case is to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor casts doubt onto his own case trying to discredit that of the defense, it works to the defense’s favor. The jury night not be able to honestly say the defendant is guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Rebuttal and the Defense
There is a chance for the defense to speak during the rebuttal phase. If the prosecutor brings out new witnesses, the defense attorney does have a right to discuss the case with him or her by cross-examining the new witness. The downfall is the defense attorney doesn’t have ample time to come up with questions, to discuss the options they have, or to do any research on this person. They can only ask questions when given an opportunity, and that sometimes works to the prosecution’s case.
The rebuttal phase of a criminal trial is imperative to the outcome of any case. If you are being accused of a crime you feel you did not commit or should not be punished for, it’s time to call an attorney before you go to trial. Having someone on your side to represent you when the law allows for so many instances you’re unfamiliar with is helpful. Your case is stronger when you have a defense attorney on your side. Our knowledge of the law allows us to help your case by either getting you off completely, negotiating a plea bargain, or by reducing the terms of your sentencing. Let us help you when you need it the most in life.
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