In 2014, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were more than 80,000 defendants charged in criminal cases. If you’ve been recently charged with committing a crime, it’s critical that you understand that the prosecuting attorney has probably already built a solid case against you, leaving you little time to prepare your defense. If you are facing a federal crime, federal law requires a grand jury indictment to be handed down for most federal charges. This means that investigators have been working for months, and even sometimes years, beforehand gathering evidence in order to fully convince the grand jury to charge you formally. Here are the steps that you need to take to prepare a good defense.
When facing homicide charges or any other serious criminal charge, you want to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. Typically when charges are brought against you, you don’t have a ton of time to prepare your defense. That’s why it is essential that you hire a skilled defense attorney with plenty of experience in handling the kind of charges brought against you. They will know how to take quick action and improve your chances of avoiding a trial.
Provide Your Alibi
You will want to provide your defense attorney with your alibi to demonstrate that you were somewhere other than the scene of the crime. You can provide an alibi without giving up your constitutional right against self-incrimination. With an alibi, you can rely on witnesses or evidence to support that you were in a different location that would otherwise be admissible without having to testify personally.
Gather Your Evidence
With many types of criminal charges, the prosecuting attorney must prove that you not only committed the crime but that you intended to commit the crime. The evidence that you can provide to help determine your innocence could help to cast reasonable doubt in your participation in the offense. In some cases, this can result in your charges being reduced, or dropped altogether, and improve your chances if your case goes to trial.
Decide on Your Defense
To convict you of the crime you are accused of committing; the prosecuting attorney must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. To help your case, you will want to present a defense to raise such reasonable doubt. The most common defense cases, according to the legal site Nolo are as follows.
· I didn’t do it
· It was self-defense
· Not guilty because of insanity
· I was under the influence
· It was entrapment
Consider Your Options
The truth of the matter is that many criminal cases never make it to trial. This is because a good defense attorney can negotiate before going to trial to have the charges lessened, negotiate plea bargains, and other pre-trial strategies. It is essential that you speak with your attorney in length about what the best option for your circumstance will be.
When defending yourself against criminal charges, the last thing you want to be is unprepared. To learn more about how to position yourself for the best outcome is to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney.