A student studying in the Netherlands asked about jury trials in criminal cases.

If you watch US television shows and movies you’ll invariably see juries deciding criminal cases.  

That makes sense both for entertainment and for purposes of understanding US law.  In criminal cases, Article III  and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantee the right to a jury trial.

However, the right only applies to serious crimes. As a general rule, if a defendant can be sentenced to more than six months, the defendant can demand a jury trial.

If you wish to dispute a parking ticket in the United States, the Constitution will not guarantee you a jury trial but certain states allow for jury trials for less serious cases.  In other words, the Constitution of the United States might not require a jury trial in all cases, but states can establish their own rules for less serious crimes.