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When a case goes to trial, a jury may be selected, or the parties may opt for a bench trial, which is a trial without a jury and the judge will decide the case. Once that has been determined the actual trial begins with opening statements from each side. Opening statements are a general overview of each party’s arguments. No witness or physical evidence is used at this stage. After the opening statements are made, each side will have the chance to call witnesses and present evidence. Once both sides have completed their arguments, they each give what’s called closing arguments reviewing the key points in favor of their case and why the other party’s case is not supported by evidence. At the close of the jury trial the jury deliberates and determines the liability of the parties in a civil case or guilt [or innocence] of the defendant in a criminal case.