When you are on trial in Houston for a crime like assault, it’s important to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney who will ensure your rights are protected. In many instances, mistakes are made during the trial process that can have an enormous impact on the outcome of your case. You’ll want someone on your side that is aware when these mistakes are made and is able to take appropriate legal action, such as requesting the judge declare a mistrial.
Why Mistrials Happen
There are many rules and procedures that must be followed in order to assure a defendant gets a fair and impartial trial. However, mistakes or errors can be made during the course of the trial that may compromise the fairness and impartiality of the proceedings. Sometimes these mistakes or errors are so serious that the judge is convinced the defendant will not be able to receive the fair trial or verdict they are guaranteed under the law. When this occurs, the judge may declare a “mistrial,” ending the trial prior to a verdict being reached.
A judge may declare a mistrial for many reasons, including:
- A significant procedural error occurs.
- A deadlocked or “hung” jury – one that is unable to arrive at a verdict.
- Evidence was improperly introduced.
- A juror or attorney dies during the trial.
- It is determined the court does not have jurisdiction in the case.
- Jurors were improperly selected.
- Juror misconduct is found, such as a juror communicating with someone outside the trial, bringing evidence or information into the jury room that has not been entered into trial, or trying to convince another juror to vote one way or another.
- Prosecutorial misconduct occurs, such as introducing falsified evidence or testimony, intimidation, or plea bargaining abuse.
How Does a Mistrial Affect Your Case?
You are on trial for assault. Your attorney has requested a mistrial due to errors made during the trial. The judge agrees; he declares a mistrial — the trial is ended and declared void. Is this the same as being found not guilty?
Not exactly. If the prosecutors feel it is warranted, they can retry you based on the same charges. This isn’t considered to be “double jeopardy” — being tried twice for the same crime — since the first trial was declared a mistrial. However, the time and cost of a second trial may deter them from calling for a retrial, especially if the mistrial was due to a hung jury.
In a trial involving assault, the severity of the crime of which you’ve been accused could be the deciding factor in whether or not to pursuse a retrial.
In order to avoid a retrial, the prosecutor might offer the defendant a plea deal. It will be up to you and your lawyer to decide if you want to take the plea.
If they decide not to retry you, the prosecutor will more than likely dismiss the charges against you.
Leading Houston Assault Attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss Will Protect Your Rights
In Texas, assault is a serious crime. Being convicted of assault in Houston can cost you thousands of dollars in fines and up to life in prison. Houston assault lawyer Lisa Shapiro Strauss has successfully defended clients who have been charged with all types of assault. Her extensive knowledge of the law and courtroom experience ensures her clients’ rights will be protected. She’ll work hard to see you get the best outcome possible for your case.
If you have been arrested for assault in Houston or a surrounding community, contact Houston assault attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.