The process of being charged with a crime can be challenging and stressful. It’s a high-stakes game with your future at stake. If you want the best possible outcome in your criminal case, you must have an experienced and strategic criminal defense lawyer on your side.
Understand the prosecution’s case thoroughly
A criminal defense lawyer scrutinizes the prosecution’s case. A prosecution must review all evidence, police reports, and witness statements. The lawyer will look for any holes, inconsistencies, speculations, or questionable procedures by law enforcement or prosecutors that they highlight to create reasonable doubt. Further, knowing the case inside and out permits the defense to select the best witnesses to cross-examine. Criminal defense attorneys frequently hire professional investigators. Evidence that contradicts the prosecution’s version of events or supports the defendant’s innocence is uncovered by investigators. For example, an investigator might find an eyewitness who contradicts the prosecutor’s account or evidence that calls into question the validity of forensic evidence.
File smart pretrial motions
Filing well-crafted pretrial motions is an important element for respected local lawyer in Mississauga seeking dismissal or reduction of charges. Common types of motions include motions to suppress evidence, statements, or confessions that were illegally or improperly obtained. A motion to suppress that succeeds in getting certain prosecution evidence thrown out could punch major holes in their case. In addition, attorneys file motions for a change of venue if pre-trial publicity biases jurors against the defendant. Filing smart motions requires strategic preparation and legal skills.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will almost always engage in plea negotiations with the prosecution to try to reduce charges and penalties. Often, prosecutors will make plea offers to avoid the time and resources required for a full trial. A skilled negotiator cites weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, the dire consequences of a guilty verdict, and the desire to spare victims from testifying. This is done to negotiate a plea bargain that reduces felony charges to misdemeanors, lessens sentences, or drops charges completely.
Undermine the credibility of prosecution witnesses
Discrediting witnesses for the prosecution is a central part of criminal defense strategy during cross-examination. Skilled trial lawyers will look for any motives, biases, or inconsistencies in a witness’s background or testimony that cast doubts about their version of the story. Physical conditions, like poor eyesight, may have affected identification. Or psychological influences like peer pressure that shape testimony. Getting prosecution witnesses rattled requires meticulous preparation.
Top criminal defense attorneys will take steps to ensure that their theory of the case dominates perceptions in the courtroom rather than the prosecution’s. In the opening statement, the lawyer will present their interpretation of events and the key reasons for innocence or reasonable doubt. They will call witnesses and present evidence carefully choreographed to reinforce that narrative. Lawyers are required to prove defendants guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” which is a high bar. Good defense lawyers will constantly remind the jury that the burden is exclusively on the prosecution to produce definitive proof of guilt – not on the defendant to prove innocence. If they show the prosecution’s evidence as inconclusive, speculative, or leaving key questions unanswered, then raising doubt becomes that much easier.