What is a Mistrial?
News broke recently that a mistrial was declared in the highly-publicized criminal trial of a Baltimore police officer accused of contributing to the death of Freddie Gray. Readers may remember that Gray’s death while in police custody set off days of protests in Baltimore and other cities over police brutality and mistreatment of minority citizens. The big question on everyone’s mind now is this: What happens next?
Your Case is not Over if There is a Mistrial
If you are charged with a crime and your case ends with a mistrial, in most cases this is not the end of your legal problems. A mistrial is simply a judicial declaration that the case cannot be resolved properly at the present time, either because a jury “hung” (could not reach a unanimous verdict) or because there is evidence of misconduct that makes it unlikely that a fair trial can occur. Unless the prosecution committed some egregious act or made an outlandish statement that led to the declaration of the mistrial, in almost every case the prosecution gets to decide whether it wants to proceed with a retrial in front of a different jury.
Does a Mistrial Mean My Attorney Did a Bad Job Because I Did Not Get Acquitted?
Not necessarily. If a mistrial was declared after hours of deliberation by the jury and a statement that the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict, it can mean that your attorney was able to create reasonable doubt as to your guilt in the mind of at least one juror. If the prosecution committed some unprofessional act or made an improper statement and your attorney is successful in obtaining a mistrial, it may mean that the prosecution is unable to retry you. Speak with your attorney about the reason the mistrial was granted and whether you can be retried for the offense.
Just Because the Prosecution Can Retry You Does Not Mean They Will
A trial is an expensive and time-consuming event and it can strain the limited resources of some smaller prosecutors’ offices. If your case ended in a mistrial because the jury was hung or deadlocked, your attorney can use this fact to your advantage. A prosecutor may be unwilling to attempt to retry you if he or she feels he or she put on the best case possible and does not have the resources to retry you or does not want to spend the resources to try your case again. Resolving your case in this manner usually requires a skilled advocate with extensive negotiating experience.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney if You Have Questions
The law office of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. is here to assist Miami-area residents and Floridians across the state in obtaining high-quality and powerful legal representation in their criminal cases. Attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner is resourceful and creative and will professionally and aggressively fight for an acquittal of your charges. Where an acquittal is not possible, Attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner is a skilled advocate and negotiator and will strive to obtain the best possible resolution for your case. Contact him today by calling (305) 670-9919 or contact him through his website for assistance.