Definition of Bench Trial
A trial presented before a judge is a bench trial. Civil trials are generally held before a judge unless the defendant or plaintiff requests a jury. In a bench trial the judge will hear the evidence presented by each party and make a ruling for the case.
In a criminal case defendants may have the right to request a bench trial, but lawyers generally do not believe this is a good idea for a felony trial unless they have a case which can anger the jury. If a defendant chooses a bench trial and they are found guilty the judge will schedule a sentencing date and the defendant will be immediately taken into custody.Prior to a civil or criminal trial it is important to discuss your case with a lawyer to determine what type of trial is best for your case.