Being charged with a criminal offense is no small thing. Mere allegations made against you can threaten your reputation, and a criminal conviction can wreak havoc on your life. It can threaten to strip you of your freedom, your job, and your ability to live a normal life far into the future. Although that might be frightening, you shouldn’t let yourself slip into despair. This is because strong criminal defense strategies might be available to you. You just have to educate yourself about them and then aggressively implement them.
Suppressing the prosecution’s evidence
There are a lot of legal strategies that you might be able to utilize to defend yourself against the allegations that have been levied against you. However, one of the strongest, most effective tactics is evidence suppression. Here, you argue that certain pieces of evidence utilized by the prosecution should be tossed out, meaning that it can’t be used against you. In most instances, suppression occurs due to illegal police conduct or out of simple fairness.
So, when can you suppress evidence? Below are some circumstances that lend themselves to suppression.
- Illegally obtained evidence: You have a Constitutional right against illegal searches and seizures. Therefore, law enforcement officers typically have to obtain a warrant before they can search you, your car, or your home. There are some exceptions to the warrant requirement, but police officers oftentimes misunderstand them and illegally collect evidence. The best example is when police officers pull you over without the requisite amount of suspicion to conduct a legal traffic stop. They then observe drugs in the vehicle, conduct a search, and arrest the driver. Here, the narcotics found within the vehicle may be suppressible because it is considered tainted by the illegality of the traffic stop itself. This tainting of evidence is known as the fruit of the poisonous tree
- Chain of custody errors: In order to admit evidence against you, the prosecution has to prove that the purported evidence is what it claims it to be. For example, test results that a collected substance is a specific narcotic requires that the substance wasn’t compromised before it reached testing. You’d be surprised, though, at how often law enforcement officers improperly collect, transport, and store evidence. If you can point out these errors, then you might be able to have that evidence suppressed due to lack of reliability.
- Failure to appear at depositions: To prepare your defense, you need to know what the prosecution’s witnesses are going to say at trial. That’s where depositions can prove beneficial. Yet, outside of subpoenaing the prosecution’s witnesses to depositions, you can’t force them to appear. When those witnesses fail to appear for depositions despite being subpoenaed for them, you can argue that allowing the prosecution to utilize those witnesses’ testimony against you at trial is fundamentally unfair and should therefore be prohibited. This is often a successful argument.
Be prepared to beat the prosecution
Even when the evidence seems insurmountable in a criminal case, persuasive legal arguments may exist that can completely change the outcome of the case. That’s why if you want to maximize your chances of achieving a favorable outcome, you have to know your criminal defense options and how to build them up strongly enough to successfully fight back against aggressive prosecutors. This oftentimes takes knowledge of applicable statutes, the rules of evidence, and relevant case law, though, which is why many individuals who have been accused of a criminal offense choose to turn to an experienced criminal defense attorney for assistance.