Most of us have heard the saying that someone is presumed innocent until they’re proven guilty. Prosecutors have the burden of proving the charges beyond a reasonable doubt when trying a defendant for a crime. The defense’s role is to disprove or cast doubt on the prosecution’s version of events in hopes that they can secure an acquittal, reduced charges or a lesser sentence for the accused (depending upon the situation).
How do defense strategies work?
In general, there are three main approaches a defendant can take to their defense:
- They can admit to the charges and accept their guilt in hopes of mitigating their sentence.
- They can deny the charges entirely and assert their complete innocence.
- They admit to the charges but offer an explanation that justifies their actions.
Most defenses start with the facts involved in a case, but that’s hardly where they end. Defense attorneys and prosecutors can reach completely different conclusions even with the same set of facts in front of them. The actual truth of a matter may not be as relevant as the facts that the prosecution can prove.
A defense attorney’s job is to look for all possible ways to mitigate the consequences of the charges for their client. That may mean looking for procedural errors that could lead to a dismissal, finding evidence that confirms their alibi, or showing that the prosecution got the “story” behind the facts of the case all wrong.
What’s the next step in your defense?
All criminal charges have the potential to damage your future. The most important thing you can do in your own defense is to exert your right to remain silent until you’re speaking with your attorney alone. An experienced defender can evaluate your situation and help you understand exactly what challenges you face.