Criminal charges cover a wide range of crimes. Common ones include assault, fraud, and robbery. Regardless of the charge, you could face severe consequences if you get a conviction. Every defendant has the right to an attorney.
Legal representation can come up with an effective defense strategy and increase your chances of a favorable result. The court may assign you a public defender to represent you during a trial. Nevertheless, you can look for a criminal defense lawyer to take your case.
However, not every firm is right for you. Specific attributes help you determine if an attorney fits your case.
Common Legal Defenses
One of the most common defenses people generally use is a claim of innocence. You and your lawyer would present evidence and counterarguments. You can provide testimony as well to support your innocence.
However, you do not have the burden to prove anything. The prosecution has to convince the jury you are guilty of the crime. In some instances, the other side can link you to the event. Other defenses might apply to your case. Your lawyer determines a strategy based on your situation.
A Constitutional Violation
A competent lawyer investigates a defendant’s situation and reviews each piece of evidence the other party presents. Your attorney could find a constitutional violation, and the judge could dismiss the case. The police might have searched and obtained evidence from your car, home, or person illegally.
Law enforcement needs a warrant or probable cause for a search and seizure. Your defense attorney may argue the officers did not meet either requirement. Another constitutional violation is if the police did not read you your “Miranda Rights” during your arrest.
Defense of Self or Others
Around 1.3 million violent crimes occur every year. Several accused people can avoid a conviction if they can successfully argue their actions were a product of defense. In cases of assault, battery, or murder, the defendant might have used violence in self-defense.
However, the circumstances of the event need to justify the amount of force. A defense-of-others is similar to self-defense, but the individual protects someone else. The person injured someone to defend a spouse or child from an attack.
You could use the argument if a person tried to harm a fellow pedestrian. Defense-of-property can justify the use of force to protect property. You might have felt the need to stop the destruction of personal items or land.
One reason why a false accusation occurs is due to misidentification. A victim can mistake an innocent bystander accidentally. In a few instances, malicious reasons are behind allegations. You and your lawyer can show you had an alibi at the time of the crime.
Video footage, store receipts, and other pieces of evidence can establish an alibi.
How to Find the Best Criminal Defense Attorney for Me
Over 1.3 million lawyers exist in the United States to represent clients in the courtroom. When you look for a firm, you need to find one with a focus on criminal law. To find the best defense attorney, you need to select one with specific qualities.
The prosecution can be aggressive while they prove you are responsible for a crime. Your attorney should be able to stand up to the other side and give an aggressive defense. They need to be firm and confident to sway the jury.
You need to select a lawyer with years of experience with charges similar to the one you have. They must display knowledge of the relevant state and federal laws, especially for serious crimes. A proper defense attorney is aware of possible outcomes and the potential for each one.
When you meet with a lawyer, observe how they communicate with you. They should listen to what you say and ask relevant questions. An attorney should give explanations in a way you understand.
The right criminal defense lawyer is someone who exhibits integrity and perseverance. Client reviews can let you know if a firm is fit for the job.
What Does the Other Side Need to Prove?
Municipal courts process roughly 3.5 million criminal cases per year. In most of them, the prosecution must prove three things.
It must establish the criminal act. The defendant had to voluntarily make an unlawful bodily movement.
Another element is criminal intent. The defendant needs to have had the resolve to commit the crime. Lastly, the prosecution has to prove concurrence. Concurrence shows both the guilty action and intent occurred at the same time.
If the crime requires a detrimental result, the other party must establish causation and harm. The prosecution needs to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Otherwise, they do not have a valid criminal case.
You Can Help Your Case
One way to build a strong defense is to not talk to the police. Every citizen has the right to remain silent. Police detectives look for statements to incriminate a suspect. They might ask leading questions or use the threat of arrest.
Politely decline to speak to the police unless you have a lawyer present. Additionally, you should limit or stay away from social media. Specifically, avoid posts related to your criminal case. The prosecution can look at your profile page and use your comments against you.
When you hire a defense attorney, you need to prove information quickly. You should be honest as well. Lawyers need to know every aspect of what happened to prepare a defense. Follow any advice they give you as well.
Provide your criminal defense attorney with the contact information of any witnesses. Their testimonies can support an alibi or a claim of self-defense. If the other side has witnesses, your lawyer may challenge their credibility.
Collect as much evidence as you can. You should even obtain a copy of the police report as well. Your attorney can look for errors to question the report’s credibility. Behave respectfully in the courtroom to make a favorable impression.