Sarah Edwards | November 29, 2022
Summary: A bench trial involves no jury and gives all decision-making power to the judge. Facing a bench trial for bankruptcy can be scary. Fortunately, SoloSuit can help you respond to a debt collection lawsuit in minutes.
A bench trial is a trial without a jury. Instead of jurors, the judge alone holds decision-making power. They will hear both sides of a case and examine the evidence before issuing their findings.
Only certain types of cases are eligible for bench trials. For instance, bankruptcy and foreclosure claims will be tried by a judge, and admiralty and maritime claims generally do not allow jury trials. In some cases, a defendant can agree to waive their right to a jury trial.
Respond to debt collection lawsuits right away with SoloSuit.
Some cases must undergo a bench trial. For example, cases involving bankruptcy or foreclosure will require a bench trial. If a contract between two parties stipulated a bench trial in case issues arose surrounding the agreement, the matter would go before the judge.
Even if a claim is eligible for a jury trial, lawyers must formally ask for one. The legal team must handle the request appropriately to avoid ending up with a bench trial.
Bench trials are advantageous when both parties want to expedite the case's outcome. There is greater flexibility allowed in a bench trial, and judges can choose to start the proceedings earlier and end them later. In contrast, a jury trial must adhere to certain regulations, including a specific start and end time and adequate time for breaks.
Bench trials usually don’t require opening and closing statements. Instead, both the plaintiff and defendant can submit written statements, which cuts down on court time.
There is also no need to ensure certain arguments aren’t heard by the jury, such as questions about the admissibility of evidence.
Since lawyers won’t need to deal with the jury selection process, they can save time investigating potential jurors. They won’t need to draft questions related to the jury selection process or conduct research on prospective jurors.
There’s also not as much need to follow an orderly process; lawyers can present witnesses and evidence according to timing constraints.
Bench trials also ensure that the person reviewing the case is a legal expert who understands complex facts and legal arguments. A bench trial may be a better fit if a case involves specific claims that may be difficult for a jury to understand. For instance, a lawsuit involving lots of scientific evidence or financial details might align better with a bench trial.
Bench trials aren’t always advantageous for both parties.
In some cases, judges may have certain predispositions toward specific claims. An experienced attorney will know about the judge’s tendencies from other cases they’ve worked on. If a judge tends to find against individuals in claims similar to the defendant’s, asking for a jury trial is advantageous.
While a jury trial doesn’t guarantee that a case will be decided in favor of a defendant, it will sometimes be an advantage. The attorney must be careful in their pre-trial juror research to avoid selecting jurors who may have biases against their client. Uncovering biases isn’t straightforward; developing a list of pre-trial jury questions can help.
Another disadvantage of a bench trial is that the judge will know all the evidence. They’ll review everything submitted, even if the evidence isn’t later allowed in the trial. Knowledge of unadmitted or frivolous evidence can sway their decision, even if they try to remain conscientious and base their decision on admitted documents.
A judge in a bench trial is fully aware of the legal rules. They’re far less likely to let their emotions or personal beliefs take the reins in their decision. A judge will carefully weigh all the evidence while considering prior case findings and federal and state laws.
In contrast, a jury may be more likely to dismiss a case involving certain politically charged circumstances, like racial inequality or police brutality.
Sometimes, a judge may face outside political pressures that push them to decide a particular way on some legal claims. Some judges are publicly elected and must stand for reelection to hold their position. If they rule a certain way in a politically important case, they may have less chance of reelection.
If you’re involved in a legal claim, your attorney will advise you on the best type of trial for your case. They will explain the benefits and drawbacks of each possibility and recommend an appropriate course for you.
Sometimes, your case may not be eligible for a jury trial. Your attorney will prepare your claim for a bench trial with a judge in that situation.
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now are are just look for support, we're here for you.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips
How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts
How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?
How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?
What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?
Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?
If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?
Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?
Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?
Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?
What is a default judgment?— What do I do?
Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?
What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?
What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?
What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency
What is a Stipulated Judgment?
What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?
Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?
Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?
Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?
Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?
Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?
Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide
Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?
Should I Marry Someone With Debt?
Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?
How Does Debt Assignment Work?
What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?
How Does Debt Assignment Work?
Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?
How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?
Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?
What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?
Does Student Debt Die With You?
Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?
How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?
How Long Does a Judgment Last?
Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?
Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?
Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?
The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?
Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?
What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?
Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.
How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide
How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney
How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know
How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)
Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector
Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency
Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.
Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit
New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt
Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors
The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah
West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt
What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained
Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector
Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt
Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim
Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector
How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment
How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont
North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt
ClearPoint Debt Management Review
Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt
Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say
CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review
How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter
How to Appear in Court by Phone
How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands
Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon
Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next
How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement
Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do
How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection
Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt
Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection
How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa
How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court
Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review
Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?
Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?
How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?
How Long Does a Judgement Last?
How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?
How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court
Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.
"Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly is kinda scary. I started researching on YouTube and found SoloSuit's channel. The videos were so helpful, easy to understand and encouraging. When I reached out to SoloSuit they were on it. Very professional, impeccably prompt. Thanks for the service!" - Heather