When criminal defense attorneys think about how to present their clients, they need to think about more than just the argument they want to make. The flip side of every prosecution is how the prosecution has built the case. Let's look at four ways prosecutors try to win and how criminal defense lawyers respond to them.
Getting the Process Right
While it's somewhat mythical that the state has to cross its t's and dot its i's on every detail of a case, the process still matters. One of the best defenses available to accused individuals is that some part of the process was egregiously wrong. For example, the cops can't pull someone over for no reason and proceed to search their vehicle.
If there are concerns about the process that was used to bring charges, the prosecution wants to know that early so they can drop the charges without hurting their performance record. Few prosecutors willing bring weak cases, but they can slip past when defendants don't seek counsel.
Sources of Evidence
Most evidence in criminal proceedings is gathered by the police. If a charge was based on an immediate arrest, the arresting officer will file an affidavit explaining why the arrest occurred and what evidence supports the case. For simple offenses, such as criminal assaults or retail thefts, this is where the search for evidence usually ends.
More complex cases may see prosecutors work to obtain evidence using legal processes. Subpoenas, court orders demanding that specific items be turned over, are useful tools for getting evidence. Suppose a person stood accused of running a drug trafficking operation. The prosecution might subpoena their bank to get records of transactions to demonstrate a pattern.
Interviews, Depositions, and Testimony
The simplest way to answer a question is oftentimes to ask someone, and prosecutors do just that. Interviews are less formal devices that allow prosecutors to ask willing participants to say what they know. Depositions are interviews conducted out of court, but they include sworn statements. Testimony is about interviewing people in court and under oath, and testimony can be collected through the grand jury process before charges are ever filed.
Building a Narrative
Every criminal case is a story. The goal for prosecution is to build a narrative about what happened and why it occurred. A narrative may be simple, such as a bar fight. It may be complex, such as revenge. Criminal defense lawyers try to anticipate these narratives and poke holes in them.
Speak with a criminal defense lawyer to learn more.