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Bench Trial Definition

A criminal defendant can have their case heard by a jury or a judge. A bench trial is a trial before a judge. In a bench trial, the judge decides on procedural and evidentiary issues while also serving as the factfinder. The judge will make the decisions, hear the evidence, and determine whether or not the defendant is guilty. If the judge finds the defendant guilty of any of the charged offenses, they then impose a sentence, including fines, probation, jail, or prison.

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