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What is an Opening Statement in a Criminal Trial?

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What is an Opening Statement in a Criminal Trial?

In a criminal trial, the judge or court, will give both sides to the government, or the prosecution, and the defense council the opportunity to tell prospective jurors, or jurors sworn in that case, about the facts and the case and the evidence they tend to bring forward. For example, in the prosecution’s case, the state or the government will tell the jurors, “This is what our case is about. These are the people that will testify and this is how we will prove the elements of the crime”.

In the defense opening, the defense will explain to the jurors what they expect to prove, or show or what defenses they will rely on in the case. During the opening statement, it is described, many times, as a road map, sort of what to expect during the trial. It’s very important during the opening statement because it’s the first time either party has a chance to formally address the jurors and explain the specifics of the case. It’s important from a strategy stand point because that way you can tell jurors what you expect the evidence to show. And it’s important from the defense side to show what defenses you may bring forth, like self defense, or that you expect that there might be lack of evidence, or short fall in the prosecution’s case. If you have been charged with a crime, you need a skilled criminal trial attorney on your side to protect your rights and your freedom. Contact our Tampa criminal trial lawyers today for help. 

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The criminal defense attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A., fighting for our clients rights in criminal defense cases in ClearwaterTampaBradentonSpring Hill, Pinellas, Pasco, New Port Richey, Manatee, Hillsborough and Hernando Counties in Florida. 

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J. Kevin Hayslett

Kevin Hayslett, Esq.

J. Kevin HayslettThe Attorney to the Stars, is a highly-recognized attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Kevin is an avid tennis player and is currently nationally-rated in singles and doubles. 

Follow Kevin on Google+, or on Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law". Kevin can also be heard on the Bubba The Love Sponge morning show during the "Ask the Lawyer" segment, which can be heard at 7:30 am EST on alternating Thursday's every month.