People facing criminal charges often feel intimidated. The criminal justice process may seem overwhelming and like an insurmountable personal challenge. A large percentage of those accused of breaking the law plead guilty because they don’t know if they have any means of defending against the state’s case, due in part to the complexity of the system and the aforementioned intimidation factor.
Particularly when the state has evidence that seemingly connects someone to a criminal matter, people may feel as though they have no way of fighting back. Although the state can and likely will present evidence in an attempt to convince the courts of someone’s guilt in a criminal matter, a defense attorney can help someone prepare an appropriate response. In certain circumstances, a lawyer can even help a defendant to keep certain evidence out of a criminal trial.
Suppressing Evidence: Considerations
There are a variety of situations in which a criminal defense lawyer can potentially keep a prosecutor from presenting certain evidence in court. One of the most common involves police misconduct. When police officers have violated the law or someone’s civil rights, their misconduct can affect the evidence that they collect.
Attorneys can invoke the exclusionary rule in court to keep ill-gotten evidence from swaying the judge or jury. For example, perhaps a police officer conducted an illegal search. A lawyer might be able to keep the evidence obtained during that search out of court. It is also sometimes possible to prevent the vacation or statements made to a police officer during questioning if the defendant did not receive the Miranda warning as required by law.
Other times, lawyers may not be able to keep the evidence out of court, but they can help someone undermine it. For example, they could bring in an expert witness who reinterprets the evidence and reaches a completely different conclusion than the prosecution did. Lawyers can also raise questions about the state’s process for analyzing the evidence. Gaps in the chain of custody might make the evidence less useful than the prosecution would hope.
Those facing criminal charges who are worried about the state’s evidence often have options for defending against the charges in question. As a result, reviewing state evidence with the assistance of an attorney is often a good starting point for those who want to prove their innocence in a court of law.