Have you ever heard of something known as innocent until proven guilty? A hallmark of the American legal system is making a presumption that you are innocent until proven guilty. This means that a judge or jury is legally required to assume that you are innocent until they are shown, through evidence, otherwise. A defendant is able to “plead the fifth,” which means they are permitted to remain silent about the case and not offer a shred of evidence to support a claim of innocence. A prosecutor is supposed to prove that a defendant is either guilty or not guilty; that is not the job of the defendant.
Police Report Limitations and Erroneous Information
An average police report is limited in the information that it conveys. Along with this, these reports frequently get facts wrong because of misstatements or lies by witnesses. There are also typically mistakes because or errors or bias on the part of officers or others. An argument between a defendant and plaintiff may be incorrectly stated, or an aggressor claims a defendant attacked him when really they were just acting in self-defense. A defendant always has the option of going to trial and hoping for an acquittal. However, criminal trials are risky and expensive, as well as being very stressful.
How is Intervening Before Charges Beneficial to Your Case?
When you are headed to trial, hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is your best bet at getting somewhere. If there are facts that act in your favor, a lawyer may try to intervene before the prosecution has a chance to file charges. Sometimes a lawyer will take the necessary steps to contact an arresting or investigating officer before the case gets to prosecution. In a less serious case, a lawyer may be able to explain that this type of incident never even makes it to a courtroom; however, as a defendant, you should never get your hopes up about this.
When the defendant is involved in a client meeting, a lawyer may try to persuade the prosecution to dismiss charges after evidence comes out. Many lawyers, however, will decide that it is best not to get into too much detail with the prosecution when they have realistic fears that material may be given away in advance that can ruin the case. On the other hand, it is sometimes best for the defense to do nothing at all. A prosecutor may take some time, but eventually come to the conclusion that there is not enough evidence to convict the defendant.
Defenses to Prove Innocence
There may be multiple defenses to use in a criminal case when you are actually innocent. This could prove to the prosecution that there is no case and charges may be dropped. They include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Self-Defense: This falls under the belief that people have a right to defend themselves from physical injury; however, it may be a difficult defense to prove. A defendant will usually have to demonstrate that the self-defense was necessary and the true belief of physical harm was within reason. For instance, a threat to punch someone should not end in a shooting. However, punching somebody and running after being beaten nearly to death may be a good defense.
- Insanity: In these cases, judges and jurors become widely skeptical because it is hard to prove that there is a mental or intentional element. If a defendant is actually mentally ill and they do not understand what they have done, then insanity may be proven. Even if a defendant is successful in this type of defense, they will still likely be sent to a psychiatric institution and not actually set free. They must have an inability to distinguish right from wrong.
- Under the Influence: Some defendants will defend themselves by claiming that they were under the influence of drugs, which put them in a diminished mental state to commit the crime at hand. This means they were too high or drunk to know what they were doing. Only a few states will allow this defense.
- Entrapment: These defenses will usually work when a government official induces you to commit a crime, such as prostitution or drug sales. If the judge or jury believes that you may have been predisposed to the crime, then they will not allow this defense. If an officer offered to sell you illegal drugs but you have a history of dealing drugs, then the entrapment defense will not be successful.
If you believe you have a good defense to a case, the first thing you should do is enlist in the help of an experienced attorney. Until further evidence is shown, you are presumed to be innocent in a case. Call the Blair Law Firm today to find out what you can do to move forward.