Criminal defense attorneys always face an uphill fight when defending clients who have been charged with committed different crimes. If a person has been arrested, the government certainly feels they have good evidence against the accused.
While this is taught in first year law school, a reminder is always in order. Here are a few tips that may assist defense attorneys in using that evidence to their client’s advantage…or maybe get the court to throw out the evidence altogether.
Get the Full Story
Make sure the client tells his story from the very beginning…even have the client start with the timeframe before the beginning. Have them tell it in the order it happened and it will be easier for you to get the gist of the story and less likely for the client to overlook important details. As they tell their story, ask questions and take notes. You want to make sure you have the complete picture before you head to court. Pay particular attention to the evidence that the prosecution may have that say your client committed the crime. If you find any element missing, focus in on that element. For example, if your client has been charged with receiving stolen goods and an element of the case depends on the client knowing that the goods were stolen is missing, the client shouldn’t be found guilt of having committed the crime. Try to determine a way to convince the judge, or jury, that your client didn’t know the goods he received were stolen.
Honest is the Best Policy
Make sure your client understands that telling the truth is important. If they are caught in a lie, the prosecution will be able to impeach them. If that happens at trial, the client will probably lose all credibility. Put witnesses on the stand to help your client’s case, but make sure you have prepped the witnesses thoroughly by reminding them of the need to be truthful. If someone has gone on the record saying one thing, then tells the court something else, it’s a no-brainer that the prosecutor will let the judge and jury know.
Determine, as soon as possible, what evidence the prosecution plans to use against your client. The quicker you find out the evidence, the more time you will have to challenge and possibly get it thrown out. You will also have the luxury of more time to see if the police infringed on any of your
client’s rights in the seizure, or storage, of the evidence. For example, if you find out the police officer didn’t have probably cause and a search warrant in order to search and seize the evidence, you may be able to get the evidence suppressed.
Using common sense, and what you were taught in law school, can go a long way towards helping you successfully represent your clients.