Defense lawyers focus on every legal and factual argument they can make to help you obtain an acquittal or a plea bargain. It is not required that you prove your innocence. It is only required that a defense lawyer convince a judge or jury that there is a reasonable doubt about your guilt. Each charge is different. Each case is unique. Some of the common threads we focus on to help establish a reasonable doubt depend on the stage of the case.
Issues involved before you were arrested
The strongest way to win a case is to show you weren’t there when the crime was committed. If you have an alibi, it helps if you have a witness (non-relative) who can confirm the alibi.
In many cases, the police need grounds to stop you before they can ask questions or arrest you. For example, the police can’t pull every driver they see off the road and give them a breath test. They need to see a driver show some impairment, such as swerving on the roadway, before stopping them.
In some cases, such as an assault, a theft, or a violent offense – the fact that the victim didn’t call the police can be a sign that the crime didn’t happen or that that there was some justification for it, such as self-defense.
Challenges based on how the arrest happens
Did the police have a warrant for your arrest or to search your home or property? If they didn’t have a warrant, then defense lawyers will review whether the police had reasonable grounds to search you and to stop you. The evidence and the seizure may be inadmissible if the police can’t justify some exception to the exclusionary rule.
Did the police read you your Miranda rights? If they didn’t, then defense lawyers will challenge any statements you gave against your interest and any statements that were made without a lawyer being present.
For some offenses, the police need to explain your rights if you refuse to comply. For example, if the police ask you to take a breath test because they suspect a DUI, they also have to explain the consequences if you decline to take the test.
Issues involved after the arrest
Many times, defendants are interrogated after the arrest. You have the right not to self-incriminate yourself and to have a lawyer. If you assert these rights and the police or prosecution fail to honor your assertion, then anything you say may be inadmissible.
If the police seize any evidence such as drugs or give you a breath test, they need to preserve the evidence through trial. If the chain of custody of the evidence is broken, defense lawyers will fight to suppress the evidence.
You have the right to know the witnesses against you to prepare your defense. At trial, you have the right to question these witnesses through your attorney.
Defendants also have the right to a speedy trial, especially if they can’t make bail, so that the trial is heard while people’s memories are clear and so that defendants aren’t forced to enter plea agreements because the pressure of handling a trial becomes too much.
The best thing any defendant can do is to call an experienced Annapolis criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, we have the experience and resources to help you get justice. We leave no stone unturned to show there is a reasonable doubt about the charges. We have the experience to file suppression motions, cross examine witness, challenge the laws against you, and contest the prosecution’s case. To speak with a skilled and highly respected Annapolis defense lawyer, phone us 410.777.8103, or use our contact form – to schedule an appointment. We represent clients in Annapolis, Centreville, and Ellicott City.
Just remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.