Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Show All Answers
However, only a small percentage of criminal cases actually go to trial. The majority of defendants eventually admit guilt in criminal cases and plead guilty. Commonly, this occurs in one of two ways: in a negotiated plea, the prosecutor and the defense agree to a sentence, and they present the plea to the judge for approval; alternatively, defendants sometimes simply plead guilty and the judge determines the sentence. If the defendant maintains his or her innocence in court and requests that the State prove criminal charges at trial, then victims and witnesses are subpoenaed to testify in court. Even if there is no trial, however, witness testimony is sometimes necessary or appropriate. For example, if the defendant pleads guilty to a crime, the victim of a violent crime may want to present a victim impact statement at the time of the plea or at the sentencing hearing. Another time witness testimony may be necessary is at a restitution hearing. Restitution hearings are sometimes necessary to determine the amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses or other damages that a defendant caused a victim to incur.