At criminal trials, the prosecution must establish beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty by calling witnesses and presenting evidence. They do this by calling witnesses and making presentations.
Before the prosecution begins their case, your lawyer should conduct a voir dire to interview potential jurors and assess them for bias. He or she can then conduct pre-trial questioning of potential jurors, during which questions about bias can be asked of each potential juror. Additionally, they should talk to law enforcement and witnesses and have letters sent to witnesses requesting that they appear or provide additional information. A law firm providing defense in criminal cases should also consider submitting motions to dismiss the case and suppress evidence at the beginning of the trial.
Preparing for Trial
Criminal defense attorneys begin by conducting a fact-finding mission to gain an in-depth knowledge of their case’s facts, such as reviewing police reports and lab test results. This practice, known as discovery, helps ensure fairness during trial proceedings.
Once your attorney has reviewed all of the evidence in your case, they can create motions or court filings to have it dismissed or convince a jury of your innocence. They will work closely with the prosecutor during Charge Conference meetings to ensure clear and precise jury instructions.
Your attorney will cross-examine prosecution witnesses to discredit their testimony by challenging their credibility or noting any inconsistencies between their statements and what was presented during the trial. They may also present alternative theories of the case to create doubt in the jurors’ minds; they will also give opening and closing statements to present your side.
Defending the Case
Defense involves arguments supported by evidence to prevent a conviction for an offense charged. As every case varies, and an attorney’s chosen strategy may change throughout the proceedings depending on what evidence the prosecution presents, defense strategies vary accordingly.
Criminal defense strategies typically involve appealing Constitutional violations or providing an alibi. Duress/coercion defense is another popular form, wherein defendants argue they were forced to commit illegal acts against their will. This tactic was made famous in Hollywood movies depicting mob families with members coercing people into unlawful activities through threats to harm family and health.
Other crime defenses may include mistaking law or fact, asserting that a defendant’s actions did not meet all elements of an alleged offense, self-defense, necessity, and entrapment. A skilled criminal defense attorney should be able to convince juries of these claims or others successfully.
Defending Your Rights
The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, so your criminal defense attorney must employ various strategies to elude this burden and challenge evidence, suggest someone else committed the offense, or cross-examine witnesses to challenge the credibility and reveal any inconsistencies in their testimony.
Another strategy is to raise affirmative defenses, which may include consent, entrapment, being too young to face prosecution for crimes, or lacking mental capacity based on law and typically accepted by most courts.
At the core of any defense is contesting how police gathered and stored evidence. Unfortunately, many innocent people are imprisoned due to violations of search and seizure procedures or incorrect charges brought against them by government entities; your attorney should file a motion for dismissal if this is the case.
Understanding the Differences Between the Various Levels of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault accusations carry various criminal punishments, depending on the category in which it falls. Sexual penetration usually leads to felony charges, while non-penetrative sexual acts like fondling and groping can be misdemeanors.
Many people confuse rape and sexual assault, yet there is an essential distinction between them. Rape is defined as an act that involves physical penetration, including oral sex or anal intrusion, while sexual assault does not always include such actions.
Some states distinguish the severity of sexual assault crimes depending on whether force was used during an act, with third-degree cases typically being those in which a victim under 13 years old and their defendant live together or blood relations, such as household members or blood relations of either party; teacher, a substitute teacher with authority over victim; school district employee working nearby victim and prison guard or parole officer engaging in sexual relations with inmate/probationer, etc. Understanding the differences between the various levels of sexual assault is important to prosecute the proper charges accurately.