A not guilty verdict on all charges normally ends a criminal case—the prosecution cannot appeal an acquittal. A guilty verdict on some or all charges, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the case is over.
The many rituals followed in criminal trials have developed over centuries. America's common law heritage makes it possible for all states and the federal government to follow a largely uniform set of trial procedures, from jury selection to sentencing. Here are explanations of most of the things that will happen at a trial, in the order in which they occur, including jury selection, opening statements, cross-examination, motions to dismiss, and jury instructions.
It’s not uncommon for those who’ve been accused of crime to plead guilty, only to later regret it. Whether it’s because of an unpredictably stiff sentence or “buyer’s remorse,” many defendants believe—rightly or wrongly—that they got a raw deal.