What are the advantages of a judge (bench) trial over a jury trial?

In some situations it's better to proceed with a judge alone rather than a jury when an issue at trial isn’t necessarily guilt vs innocence, but the grading of the criminal offense (Possession with the Intent to Deliver Drugs vs Simple Possession or Possession of a Firearm with an obliterated serial number vs. Unlawful Possession of Firearm). Juries, unlike a judge, are not trained in the law and often have a difficult time distinguishing degrees of criminal charges or lesser included offenses. This could mean that a person is convicted of a felony, as opposed to a misdemeanor and the difference between state prison and probation. A jury trial, however, is much more preferable in situations where the defense theory is a fabrication (the victim is making it up), or misidentification (the victim is accusing the wrong person). Judges in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are sometimes harder to persuade and the probability of success is much better for an accused at a jury trial.

 
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Alfonso Gambone is a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney dedicated to protecting your rights.