When there are multiple defendants for the same crime, the judge may find it appropriate to combine the trials. Having a joint trial can consolidate the judge’s schedule and ensure every fact of the case is heard at once. While a joint trial can be a good choice for some Pennsylvania defendants, it may be the wrong choice for others.
If you have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, it is essential to partner with a trusted criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will evaluate every detail of your case to protect your rights and determine whether a joint trial is in your best interests.
When Is It a Good Idea to Join Criminal Trials in Pennsylvania?
A joint trial may serve your interests when you and the other defendants are charged with similar crimes based on the same facts. Since co-defendants can share the same attorney, this can drive down the cost of highly-qualified representation. Some reasons a judge may determine a joint trial is the best choice include:
- Each defendant is charged using the same pieces of evidence
- Each defendant is charged with participating in the same criminal acts
- The crime in question allegedly involves a plan or scheme between the defendants
Additionally, the judge may rule to try the defendant jointly if proof of one defendant’s charge is found in the proof of another defendant’s charge. For example, suppose one defendant is charged with burglary, and another is charged with selling the property stolen in the burglary. The prosecutor would have to prove that the first defendant committed the burglary to prove that the second defendant worked with them to sell the property.
Reasons to Sever a Pennsylvania Criminal Trial
If combining your trial with other defendants will violate your right to a fair trial, you may request that the judge sever the trial. This may be in your best interests if the other defendant’s defense strategy involves incriminating you or if certain evidence only works in one defendant’s favor. Your lawyer may request that the judge sever the trial for several factors, including:
- Each defendant accuses the other of committing the alleged crime
- The evidence establishes the guilt or innocence of one defendant over another
- Specific evidence only applies to one defendant and not the others
It can be challenging to determine on your own if you should request to sever a joint trial and be tried as an individual. An esteemed Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney can conduct a full investigation into your case so they can advise you on your best path forward.
Partner with a Seasoned Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
After being charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, you may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed. The experienced attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg, and Gifford, P.C. understand what is at stake in criminal cases and are committed to guiding their clients through Pennsylvania’s complex legal system. Our skilled attorneys have over 60 years of experience achieving favorable outcomes for their clients across the state. To schedule a free consultation, give us a call at (215) 822-7575 or complete our contact form today.