Bench Trial

Definition - What does Bench Trial mean?

A bench trial is a trial in which a judge, as opposed to a jury, makes the final decision. Besides this distinction, other rules involving presenting evidence, etc. are the same. Bench trials are often used for cases involving petty offenses, or offenses that carry significantly smaller possible sentences or fines than other trials.

Justipedia explains Bench Trial

Bench trials often take a much smaller amount of time to carry out. This is because they do not require an extensive jury selection process, nor a jury deliberation period. The trial simply begins, the judge hears it and makes a decision. Sometimes, defendants waive their rights to a jury trial, and instead choose to have a bench trial. This could be because they want to get it over with sooner, or for other reasons. The court has to approve such a change in order for it to go through.

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