There are two types of trial available to litigants. Every party is entitled to a jury trial; however, sometimes it is advantageous to waive the jury and let the judge decide the case. A bench trial is a trial without a jury. The case is tried before the judge only and she decides the outcome rather than a jury. Bench trials have the advantage of being much more efficient and quick, thus potentially saving the client the expense of a lengthy jury trial.

I do not want to have a jury trial, but the person I am suing insists on a jury. Can I force a bench trial?

No. Except in minor misdemeanor cases and other special situations, everyone is entitled to present their side of the case to a jury. You cannot force a bench trial.

Am I entitled to a jury in a civil trial?

Yes. The U.S. Constitution guarantees each U.S. citizen the right to trial by jury in both criminal and civil matters.

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