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Can I Waive the Right to Trial By Jury In Massachusetts?

Posted on : April 15, 2022, By:  Tom Kokonowski, Esq.
Massachusetts-probation

Under U.S. Constitutional law, citizens accused of a crime have the right to a trial by jury. However, this may not necessarily be in the defendant’s best interests. Can a defendant waive their right to be tried in front of a jury and have a bench trial instead? Here’s what you should know and how to get help after being arrested for an illegal offense from a veteran Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer.

When a Defendant Might Want to Waive a Trial By Jury

You have the ability to waive your right to be tried in front of a jury of your peers if you were charged with a crime. But is this necessarily in your best interests? Most people would automatically answer no and assume that a jury trial is the best way to prove a defendant’s innocence.

However, there may be some situations where the defendant might not want to be tried for the crime they’re accused of in front of a jury of their peers. This could include scenarios where:

  • The crime the defendant is charged with is heinous. If you were charged with a violent or particularly heinous crime, your criminal defense attorney may have a difficult time selecting jurors who are willing and able to be unbiased and fair when hearing your case. A bench trial in front of a judge may be more likely to be impartial.
  • The case is high profile and/or has garnered national attention. If the case has made national news, there will be a lot of speculation online, on television, and in newspapers or magazines about what might have happened. Your lawyer may find it challenging to obtain jurors who have not been exposed to media coverage about the case.
  • The defendant has the appearance of having a criminal history. Defendants with facial tattoos, heavy piercings, or otherwise has an outwardly stereotypical “criminal” appearance, a jury may not be able to hear the case without applying their preconceived notions.

How a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights

Thomas Kokonowski is a veteran Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer that can help you or your loved one protect your legal rights under Commonwealth law after being arrested for a criminal offense. It’s important that you act as quickly as possible to secure legal representation. Call our offices today to schedule your consultation at 413-585-9200 (Northampton, MA), 413-549-0022 (Amherst, MA), or 413-737-9700 (Springfield, MA).