What Is a Mistrial in a Criminal Case?
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, understanding the ins and outs of criminal trials is crucial to getting the best outcome available. One term that often perplexes people is “mistrial.” You’ve heard TV lawyers excitedly demand one, but what is it exactly? What are its consequences, and is it really something that is good for the defendant? Read on for a thorough discussion of mistrials in New York criminal law. If you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony offense in Orange County or the Hudson Valley, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C., in Goshen to discuss your case with a skilled and successful New York criminal defense attorney.
What Is a Mistrial?
A mistrial is an inconclusive trial that cannot proceed to a verdict due to certain reasons that undermine the trial’s fairness or validity. When sufficient circumstances exist, either party or the judge can move for a mistrial. A mistrial can occur in various scenarios such as:
- Juror Misconduct: If a juror violates the court’s instructions, such as discussing the case outside the courtroom.
- Insufficient Jury: Failure to reach a unanimous decision among the jurors, also known as a “hung jury.”
- Procedural Errors: Mistakes in the trial process that significantly affect the trial’s outcome.
- Inadmissible Evidence: Introduction of evidence that should not have been allowed, affecting the jury’s judgment.
What Happens When a Mistrial Is Declared?
When a mistrial is declared, the trial essentially becomes null and void. The judge will dismiss the jurors, and the case will generally return to a pre-trial stage. From this point, several outcomes are possible:
- Retrial: The prosecution may decide to retry the case with a new jury.
- Negotiations: The defense and the prosecution might enter into plea negotiations, leading to a resolution without another trial.
- Dismissal: In some instances, the case might be dismissed altogether.
Is a Mistrial Good or Bad for the Defendant?
The implications of a mistrial for a defendant are complex and can be both good and bad:
- Time for Re-evaluation: A mistrial gives the defense more time to reevaluate their strategy.
- Prosecution Reluctance: The prosecution might be less inclined to retry the case due to the resources already expended.
- Plea Bargains: A mistrial could lead to more favorable plea bargains.
- Emotional Toll: Facing another trial can be emotionally draining for the defendant.
- Financial Strain: Another trial means additional legal fees and possible continuing pre-trial detention.
Is a Defendant Released After a Mistrial?
The release of a defendant after a mistrial is not automatic. The status of bail or pre-trial detention generally remains unchanged until further hearings. It is up to the judge’s discretion whether the defendant will be released or held in custody while awaiting the next steps in the case.
Get Experienced Legal Help With Criminal Charges in Goshen and Orange County
A mistrial is a complex legal event with both positive and negative implications for a defendant that needs to be well understood. If you or a loved one are involved in a criminal case in Orange County or New York’s Hudson Valley, call the Goshen criminal defense lawyers of Dupée & Monroe at 845-294-8900 to discuss your options. Our team is experienced in representing persons accused of a crime and can offer valuable insights tailored to your specific circumstances.