Steve Palmer

3 ways to fight the state’s evidence at trial

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Criminal Defense

People accused of criminal activity often don’t know how to respond to the charges that they face. They may naturally worry that the state only brought charges because it has evidence sufficient to secure their conviction.

While it is generally true that prosecutors only pursue cases where they feel confident about succeeding if the matter goes to trial, it is often common to bring the harshest charges possible given the circumstances. Pleading guilty could lead to a host of unfavorable consequences, potentially including a judge deciding to hand down the most severe penalties possible.

Instead of panicking, those accused of criminal activity may benefit from developing a defense strategy that addresses the state’s evidence. The following, for example, are some common ways to fight criminal charges backed by seemingly strong evidence.

Keep the evidence out of the courtroom

One of the most effective defense strategies for handling prosecutorial evidence is to prevent its use at trial. The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and can lead to the courts excluding certain evidence during criminal proceedings. If a defense attorney can establish that officers violated someone’s rights or conducted an illegal search, it may be possible to exclude certain evidence from a criminal trial.

Highlight issues with state procedures

Perhaps the police didn’t violate someone’s rights when gathering evidence but engaged in scientifically dubious behavior. The failure to properly secure a crime scene might mean that contamination occurs and affects the credibility of the evidence. Other times, mistakes when storing, testing or processing evidence could alter how reliable it is. Gaps in the chain of custody records and other mistakes in police procedure could lead to questions about the credibility of the evidence that the state presents at trial.

Obtain a better analysis

Some prosecutors and police departments rely on outdated scientific strategies or even junk science to build a case against an individual. Expert witnesses brought in by defense lawyers can raise questions about how the state enhanced video footage or analyzed a 911 call. Experts could even potentially produce an alternate explanation that shows one person may not have violated the law at all or that identifies another potential suspect.

Using the right of discovery to analyze evidence prior to a criminal trial may help defendants establish effective criminal defense strategies. Those who understand that evidence is not always trustworthy may recognize when there is an opportunity to successfully defend against their pending criminal charges.