State prosecutors usually take on only the cases that they believe they can win. That means that there is enough evidence available to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that somebody violated the law.
Those hoping to defend themselves against pending criminal charges have several rights that they can make use of while preparing for court. The right of discovery is one of the most important protection a criminal defendant has. The state must provide you with evidence the state intends to use against you. From forensic reports and financial records to a list of the witnesses who will testify, you will have access to all of the information that the prosecution will leverage against you.
When you know the evidence, you can potentially use one of the three reasons below to challenge some of that evidence and exclude it from court.
When officers violated your rights
Did a police officer fail to inform you of your Miranda rights and then questioned you, effectively pushing you into making statements that the prosecution intends to use against you? In a situation where a police officer violated your rights or broke the law during an investigation, the exclusionary rule could give a lawyer grounds to fight against the use of that evidence during your court proceedings.
When officers made mistakes handling the evidence
There are very strict rules regarding the preservation of crime scenes and how police departments collect, analyze, transfer and store physical evidence. Both records that show contamination was likely and disruptions in the chain of custody showing how police handled and used the evidence could make it easier for you to challenge the evidence or the way that the state interprets it in the case against you.
When so-called experts reach faulty conclusions
Despite how police procedural television shows depict forensic evidence as infallible, many issues can arise during the collection and analysis of physical or chemical evidence. Outdated information from an expert working for the state might mean that the police or the prosecutor reach the wrong conclusion.
Bringing in expert witnesses isn’t exactly the same as challenging evidence to keep it out of court, but it can help you undermine what impact that evidence has on the outcome of your trial. Making use of your discovery rights when you face criminal charges will help you plan a more effective defense.