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Innocent until proven guilty is the mantra criminal defense lawyers live by. In preparing to prove a defendant is innocent of accused crimes, there are many layers to preparation. A good defense lawyer will know all of the steps to constructing a strong argument and be able to support it with grace and candor throughout the trial process.
For citizens of the US, the knowledge of this process might end with television shows with dramatic, “I object,” courtroom scenes. But in reality, there’s much more to constructing a solid defense than most people realize – here’s a look into the process.
Learning the Ins and Outs of the Case
From evidence to alibi, the defense lawyers should know everything about the case inside and out. This starts with gathering and examining evidence and involves searching for exculpatory evidence, which is evidence in favor of the plaintiff.
This also includes gathering and organizing police reports, charges, test results, photographs, and transcripts of 911 calls. Potential witnesses will be interviewed and conversations had with arresting officers or detectives. The truth will set you free – especially if the attorney can find evidence in your favor.
Receiving Expert Input
Depending on the nature of the case, a defense lawyer might recruit an expert to testify on evidence and facts of the case. Finding an expert involves further research to locate a willing person to testify in regard to certain pieces of evidence.
Analyze and Strategize
After learning all the details of the case and diving into every detail, a good defense attorney will analyze for any timeline gaps, discrepancies, or other pertinent areas of the case. Utilizing this analysis, the next step is to strategize the best defense needed.
Mount a Defense
While cross-examination of key witnesses comes across as quick-witted, spur-of-the-moment thinking on the silver screen, it is actually the result of endless hours of defense preparation.
If holes in the story have been found, the defense will work to widen these gaps in the prosecution’s argument. A strong and skilled attorney will know the criminal justice system like the back of their hand and be able to use that knowledge to their advantage. The law is constantly changing and varies by state, even by city – a Milwaukee domestic violence defense lawyer might have to prepare their defense differently from a similar attorney in Los Angeles.
A good defense lawyer needs to be able to keep up with these laws so that they can decide on the right strategy.Common defense strategies involve fighting for suppression of evidence, charge reduction, or outright case dismissal.
See You in Court
Courts have a protocol that must be followed, and this includes aspects of a criminal defense trial. A criminal defense lawyer will participate in court hearings, pre-trial conferences, and more. In those meetings, they work to have evidence dismissed or suppressed and potentially negotiate plea deals in certain situations.
Once in court, every bit of preparation comes into play as the defense challenges the prosecution and argues on your behalf. If the preparation has been thorough, these arguments will be compelling and influential in swaying a jury prior to deliberations.
Stay in Communication
Throughout this whole process, the attorney has to prepare to fight for what the mutually agreed upon resolution is. They have to communicate with their client to offer advice on how to minimize trial costs and avoid adverse or uncertain trial results. This might mean being willing to negotiate a plea prior to court ever happening. A plea negotiation can bring fewer charges and sentencing and overall might be a better route in some cases.
Experience is the Key to Success
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it is! But after defending dozens of cases, preparation becomes much easier and the lawyer knows the best way to fight and win. Whether the case involves a DUI, domestic violence, or assault, preparing a good defense requires an eye for detail, good communication skills, and of course, legal expertise.