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Criminal law | Legal Guides

Criminal trials

If you are going to be tried in court for an offence, this can happen in one of two ways.

  • Summary trial: the trial will take place in the District court, before a judge and without a jury. Summary crimes generally attract less significant sentences or fines.
  • Trial on indictment: the trial will take place in the Circuit Criminal Court or Central Criminal Court, before a judge and jury, with greater sentencing power.

The type of trial you receive depends on the type of crime that you are accused of committing.


If you are found to be guilty of an offence, the judge will decide on the most appropriate sentence.

The judge will consider factors such as the circumstances of the offences, and your own personal circumstances, in determining what sentence to impose. Your solicitor may urge the judge to consider certain factors in deciding on your sentence.

The Judge may consider a range of different sentences including a prison sentence or a fine. Your solicitor can advise you on the type of sentence that you are likely to receive, and what it entails. He or she may also be able to advise you on whether to appeal a sentence and help you with that appeal.