Anyone who is charged with a crime has the right to an attorney. This is one of our fundamental Constitutional rights. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
However, free or low cost public defenders are often overworked and cannot provide you with the same attention and skill that your case deserves. If possible, hiring an attorney that specializes in criminal defense is your best chance of having a successful criminal case.
Proof in a Criminal Defense Case
Criminal cases have a much higher burden of proof than civil cases. In criminal cases, the prosecution must prove that you committed a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This does not mean all doubt, but it should be above any doubt that is reasonable.
This is the highest standard that our legal system offers. Often, criminal trials are tried in front of a jury, but a single judge could make the decision according to the same burden of proof as well.
6 Types of Evidence Crucial to a Good Defense
Your defense can present evidence on your behalf, but technically you do not have to prove anything. However, a good defense may present the following types of evidence:
- Witness testimony
- Physical evidence
- Affidavits (in place of testimony)
- Documentation evidence
- Computer or digital evidence
- Demonstrative evidence (used to tell a story or to demonstrate a particular point)
Defenses in a Criminal Case
Although there are many types of defenses that you could raise, several defenses appear frequently. For example, some defendants are simply wrongfully charged. That is, the person charged did not commit the underlying crime or act.
All defendants have the benefit of the “presumption of innocence.” This means that judge or jury is required to assume that you are innocent until they decide the case or until you plead guilty.
The prosecution must prove that you are guilty. The jury cannot assume that you are guilty simply because you were charged with a crime.
One of the best defenses in a criminal case where you are arguing that you did not commit a crime is to have an alibi. An alibi basically means that you were with someone else, doing something else when the crime occurred.
Often, the person (or people) that you were with at the time will be asked to testify about your whereabouts. You cannot be two places at once, so this defense is usually effective.
If you were defending yourself (or sometimes other people), then that might be a good defense against accusations of physical violence.
If you acted in self-defense, you may also need to show who started the aggression and what types of violence they were doing or threatening to do against you or others.
You must also show that self-defense was reasonable given the situation. The amount of force that you used must also be reasonable.
The type of defense that works in your unique situation will vary greatly. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your or a loved one’s charges.