There are various facets to building a strong defense case. For instance, it’s best to seek counsel from locally based defence lawyers who have a solid understanding of regional laws, conditions, and norms. Such understanding adds to the strength of the defense’s case, since cultural barriers won’t get in the way of developing a successful legal defense strategy.
What are the elements of a strong criminal defense strategy?
A lot of detail and work goes into this process, and each case is different. However, there are some key elements that are always required for a strong defense strategy.
1. Time to prepare
Assuming you’ve hired a criminal defense lawyer, they’ll need time to prepare the case. This period of time will be crucial in determining the how the defense strategy will unfold as this when evidence is gathered to support your side of the story. You may also want to hire a criminal defense investigator, since they’re highly skilled at finding supporting evidence, witness testimonies, etc.
2. An effective explanation of events
When the prosecution charges someone with a crime, it’s because they feel that they have enough evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt. It’s up to the defense to offer a different narrative, explaining why the defendant isn’t guilty, or why their actions were justified. However, this narrative can’t simply be a string of excuses; it has to make sense, and it should ideally be backed up by solid evidence.
3. Strong evidence
The prosecution will likely be working with evidence that’s collected by law enforcement personnel, and could also call on members of the police to testify as expert witnesses. In order to mount a successful legal defense, convincing evidence is needed to support the defendant’s narrative. This could include physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, evidence gathered during surveillance, and so on. The more reliable evidence that’s presented by the defense, the better the defendant’s chance of getting a favorable outcome.
Common strategies used by a criminal defense lawyer
Having a convincing narrative and strong evidence is important, but there’s another part of the puzzle to consider as well: the ability of the defense lawyer to weaken the prosecution’s case. Here are some common strategies they use for that purpose.
1. Point out logical flaws in testimonies
Whether you’re talking about eyewitness accounts or expert testimonies, it could be that the account just doesn’t make sense. However, without the defense lawyer catching discrepancie or flaws and pointing them out, they could be taken as fact. Criminal defense lawyers are trained to detect these logical flaws, and won’t let an unreliable testimony be used to strengthen the prosecution’s defense.
2. Suggest a biased witness
In some cases, a witness for the prosecution may receive an offer to testify against the defendant in exchange for some benefit for their own pending criminal charges. While this is legal, it certainly doesn’t speak to the integrity of the witness. For example, they could be influenced to provide a biased testimony, since they know that a satisfied judge could be more disposed to rule leniently on their behalf. A criminal defense lawyer could find out this type of connection, and point out how it may have skewed the witness’s testimony.
3. Highlight errors in the investigation
When a crime is committed, members of the police force are typically first to investigate the crime scene. They collect eyewitness testimony, gather and record physical evidence, and conduct forensic examinations as needed. There are strict procedural rules governing every step of the process, but these rules aren’t always followed. This could result in absent or manipulated eyewitness accounts, misleading or missing evidence, or botched forensic results. A criminal defense lawyer (often with the help of an investigator) will work to discover these errors, effectively poking holes in the prosecution’s case.
4. Reveal weaknesses in testimonies
Eyewitness testimonies can be notoriously inaccurate, and a criminal defense lawyer will work hard to expose every inaccuracy in the prosecution’s testimonies. For example, it could turn out that a witness suffers from a medical condition that affects their memory or perception; that information would be highly relevant to the defense’s case. There could also be proof that a witness has a history of dishonesty, which would certainly weaken their testimony.
3 Tips to help your criminal defense lawyer build a strong case
Even though your lawyer will be doing most of the work, you can still play a crucial role in the success of your legal defense.
1. Tell them everything
Your lawyer needs to know the good, the bad, and the ugly; that’s the only way they can build a solid defense strategy. They need to be able to highlight the positive aspects, and defend against the negative aspects that the prosecution will surely bring up.
2. Don’t share details about your case
When in the middle of a criminal defense case, it’s vital not to share details with anyone. This could be used against you, and simply won’t help you get the results you want. This includes things like talking with friends, posting on social media, and especially speaking to police without a lawyer present.
3. Hire a criminal defense investigator
A criminal defense investigator essentially functions as your own private detective. They typically have years of experience in gathering evidence, finding witnesses, conducting surveillance, and other activities that could be instrumental in strengthening your case. While it isn’t absolutely necessary to hire a criminal defense investigator, it is strongly recommended.
Building a strong criminal defense case is a complex process, and takes plenty of time and effort. By ensuring that no stone is left unturned, a criminal defense lawyer will ensure the best chances of getting a good result for their client.