A criminal conviction could impact your finances, your family, your freedom, and your future. With all of that in mind, your first priority after being arrested should be to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Of course, you may be wondering how your attorney will defend you given the charges against you. Because every prosecution involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, the details of your defense can only be determined after consulting with an attorney. Nevertheless, a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains some common criminal defense strategies that might be used in your case.
Excluding Illegally Obtained Evidence
If any of the evidence in your case was obtained during a search and seizure, there is a possibility that the evidence was obtained illegally. The U.S. Constitution protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures by requiring a law enforcement officer to first obtain a warrant based on probable cause before conducting a search unless an exclusion to the warrant requirement applies. Although the warrant requirement has been watered down by the courts over the years, there are still safeguards in place to protect you against an illegal search and seizure. If anything about the search and seizure was not done correctly, it may mean that the evidence seized was seized in violation of your rights. In that case, your attorney may attempt to get that evidence excluded, meaning it cannot be used against you at trial.
To be convicted of any criminal offense, the prosecution must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes, the state’s case against a defendant is so weak, and the evidence entirely circumstantial, that the best defense is no defense. Your attorney may simply decide to rest after the State’s case without presenting a defense. Remember, the prosecution bears the burden of proving guilt. A defendant is not required to prove anything. Your attorney may simply focus on the fact that the State has failed in its burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in his/her closing argument and point out how little evidence the state has presented.
When the prosecution is relying on a witness to prove its case against a defendant, the reliability of that witness is crucial. The jury (or judge in a bench trial) decides whether they believe a witness. If the defense attorney can make the witness appear inconsistent, bring his/her character into question, or outright catch the witness in a lie, that jury (or judge) may be less inclined to believe the witness’s testimony. The same basic strategy applies if an informant was used by the police as part of the case against you. While the police can use informants, the informant must be credible and reliable. The informant also needs to be closely monitored while working for the police. If any of these criteria were not met, your attorney may use that information to discredit the informant’s testimony and/or involvement in the case.
In the U.S. criminal justice system, you are innocent until proven guilty. In practical terms, this means that you are not required to present any defense when charged with a crime. Instead, the prosecution must do all the work to prove your guilt. There are, however, some defenses that are referred to as “affirmative defenses” because once the state charges you with a crime, you must assert these defenses and then offer proof supporting the defense. Self-defense is one of those affirmative defenses as is the defense of alibi. In procedural terms, a defendant must let the state know that he/she is claiming the defense and then it must be proven at trial.
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you were recently arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Tennessee, contact a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to discuss your legal options.