Bench Trial Law & Legal Definition


Bench Trial is a trial conducted before a judge without a jury. In such trials, the judge decides both questions of facts and questions of law. Whereas, in a jury trial questions of facts are determined by the jury and only questions of law is decided by the judge. The rules of evidence and procedural methods are the same in both. Specific procedure for bench trial is determined by the applicable state code.

Bench trials are often faster than jury trials because time spent on selecting and instructing a jury can be spared. The defendants may waive their right to a jury trial and may opt for a Bench Trial. However, it is important to recognize that both the defendant and the prosecution have the right to present their case to a jury.