When you are on trial for a crime, you are presumed innocent on the outset. For you to be convicted, a prosecutor must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They don't have to prove their case against you 100% but they should come pretty close. Your attorney's job is to create doubt that you did the deed, or that your intention was to commit a crime. There are four ways to accomplish this.
1. Attack the Integrity of the Evidence against You
Shortly before your trial, the prosecutor will hand over any inculpatory (incriminating) evidence to your attorney, so that they can prepare your defense. If they do not do this, the judge could dismiss the charges against you, or this omission could form the basis for an appeal if you were convicted.
Preparation for challenging this evidence may include:
- Hiring experts to challenge the accuracy of scientific evidence
- Looking into the backgrounds of the witnesses to see if they may have an ulterior motive for testifying against you
- Asking questions about the methodology that was used to identify you from lineups or photo arrays
The attorney will want to also be prepared to find holes in the prosecutor's logic. Even though they may seem to have a solid chain of logic to use at trial, any weak links could be brought to light and emphasized.
2. Emphasize any Exculpatory Evidence
If the police detectives have also found exculpatory (favorable to you) evidence during their investigation, this is also required to be turned over to your attorney before trial.
This might include:
- Witnesses who couldn't or wouldn't identify you as the suspect, or stated they saw someone else at the scene
- Scientific evidence that points to someone else as the culprit
- Facts that would be supportive of your alibi if you have one, and more
3. Create a Plausible Alternate Explanation for the Event
This can be done in two ways. One is to create a plausible story about how the crime could have been committed that doesn't involve you. For example, if you were charged with embezzlement, your attorney could bring forth witnesses to discuss how transactions were taken care of in the office. It may be that someone else could had access to the money and took it, or that the accounting procedures were faulty.
The other way is to reframe the events in a way that is more favorable to you. For example, if you were charged with assault, or manslaughter or even murder, you might claim that the victim put you or others at risk for serious injury and you acted only in self-defense or to protect another person.
4. Attack the Logic of Your Supposed Criminal Intent
Say the prosecutor shows evidence that you stood to gain by killing someone for an insurance payout. However, the payout was relatively small and the insurance policy had been in place for a number of years before the death of the person.
Your attorney will want to show evidence that you truly cared for the person, that your life course shows that you are a person that values human life, and that you stood to lose much more than you could have gained by harming the victim. Thus, you lacked any real motive to commit murder.
For Specific Advice on Your Situation:
You will want to contact a criminal law attorney like Eric J. Engan Attorney At Law as soon as possible to protect your rights, come up with practical defense strategies, and give you legal support throughout the judicial process.