No one wants to spend the night in police custody or face criminal charges, but even people who believe they have never broken the law could find themselves in this difficult situation. Cases of mistaken identity and even malicious wrongful accusations can lead to people getting arrested and facing criminal charges.
If the state has indicted you for a criminal offense but you maintain your innocence, you have the right to defend yourself. What exactly that process entails will depend on the charges against you and the evidence that the state has to convince the courts of your guilt. There are generally three types of defense strategies that defendants can employ in the criminal courts.
Excluding certain evidence
When a police officer performed an improper search or otherwise violated your rights, you might invoke the exclusionary rule. Unreasonable searches and Miranda violations are among the scenarios in which someone accused of a crime could prevent the courts from hearing certain evidence. When the state violated the law or someone’s rights, some of the evidence gathered may not play a role in criminal prosecution.
Challenging the analysis of evidence
Do you have an alibi that helps you fight back against the case of mistaken identity? Can you bring in expert witnesses that raise claims about the enhanced security camera footage or incomplete genetic sample used to tie you to the scene of a crime?
Sometimes, the best defense strategy involves developing an alternate explanation, whether you prove that you could not possibly have committed the alleged offense or show that the prosecutor’s version of events doesn’t fully align with the evidence presented in court.
Mounting an affirmative defense
In scenarios where the state has clear evidence tying someone to a criminal incident, sometimes an affirmative defense is the best solution. There are numerous situations in which you could violate the law without actually committing a crime.
Acting in self-defense during a robbery would be one example. Committing a crime in the state of duress because someone threatened your children might be another. Mental incapacity and self-defense are among the most common affirmative defenses that people employ.
There are numerous viable means of protecting oneself from a criminal conviction. The best strategy depends on the evidence state has against you. Thinking carefully about the circumstances leading to your arrest could give you a better idea of the best criminal defense strategy to use in your case.