There are a very large number of criminal charges on the books but one question that often arises for a criminal lawyer is a request from a client as to how they can help a criminal defense attorney defend a criminal charge.
What steps can a person charged with a criminal defense take?
We need to remember that every person that has been accused of a crime is considered innocent till proven guilty under the presumption of innocence, which is a legal principle that the burden of proof resides in the prosecution. In more plain terms, it means that the prosecutor must prove that the defendant committed the crime and convince the judge and jury of their guilt, not that the defendant has to prove that they’re innocent.
By keeping a felony off of your criminal record, you not only reduce your fines and other penalties, but you may be able to keep your job, your housing, and your educational prospects. All of these are at risk if you are convicted of a felony.
So it goes without saying that the successful defense of a criminal charge is all-important.
First, consider some of the principal crimes that citizens face, on average. These include DUI, sex crimes, drug offences, which all present different ‘types’ of defense available and therefore different steps the accused can take to assist in the successful defense.
One of the most common legal defenses for fighting DUI charges is challenging the accuracy of chemical test results.
For example, your criminal defense attorney may argue that improper testing or improper storage of alcohol samples to be analyzed by a trained, licensed phlebotomist led to the inaccurate measurement of the amount of drugs or alcohol at the time the defendant was allegedly driving.
Another method is to challenge the officer’s observations before they made the arrest. An officer may pull a person over if they notice signs of impairment, such as making excessively wide turns, driving significantly above or below the speed limit, or overall bad driving.
Other signs of intoxication include bloodshot or glassy eyes, slurred speech, breath smelling like alcohol, and bizarre behavior. This may be more challenging to prove, but a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to convince jurors that the officer’s observations about the driver were wrong.
Sex Crimes Defense
Prosecutors must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a defendant. Being accused of a sex crime is extremely serious in terms of its effect, which could have a severe effect on employment, reputation, relationships and a range of other factors.
It is the sort of offense, as with many others, that requires an experienced attorney who has handled sex crimes and who will be able to determine if the plaintiff is covering up a consensual sexual act, for example. Some false claims of sexual assault are used as tools for extorting money from the defendant, especially if the defendant is a celebrity or public figure.
You should hire a skilled attorney who will investigate your case and determine if the plaintiff is trying to gain some financial advantage by filing a false sex crimes claim.
The state of Florida explicitly forbids trafficking, selling, possessing, manufacturing, and cultivating drugs with the intent to sell, such as:
Depending on the specific crime committed, the charges may be graded as a misdemeanor or a felony, and the punishments are subject to varying degrees of severity. Sometimes a prosecutor will add the “intent to sell” onto the offender’s drug charges to increase penalties.
A skilled criminal defense attorney can argue that the drugs were seized during an illegal search, which could reduce your charges.
What Steps Can An Individual Take To Help Defend a Criminal Charge?
There are a few key steps anyone can take to help make your defense lawyer succeed in your defense, including the following –
- Be clear with your lawyer about what you are looking to achieve, which might mean what you can live with rather than simply have the charges disappear. If, for instance, you will accept a plea bargain then you need to let your lawyer know that. If you want to defend everything to the ‘nth degree’, then you need to let them know that also. Be clear and communicate effectively with your lawyer.
- Assuming you are not using a public defender, you should advise how much you are prepared to spend on your defense. There are a range of costs including investigation, witness briefs and investigations, depositions and so forth. They cost money and you need to let your lawyer know what you can spend to defend a criminal charge.
- Be straight up with your lawyer so that you are not concealing information or details about what occurred, be it a drug, sex, DUI or any other criminal offense with which you are charged. Being a criminal defense lawyer in Sandford I am aware of situations where the concealing of material matters has made matters extremely difficult for clients who have not been completely honest with what they know. Equally, those who are ‘straight up’ have seen cases disposed of to their complete satisfaction but keep in mind also point 4, below.
- You do not need to divulge information that is not requested by your defense attorney. When defending a criminal charge remember that your attorney cannot suborn perjury so you cannot say one thing to them and then recant that when you are on the stand defending a criminal charge. The likely result is unlikely to help you.
- Follow your defense lawyer’s advice. You have gone to them because they are an expert in the criminal law and you need to help them by communicating honestly and promptly and following the advice they give you. Sometimes you may not like their advice or necessarily agree with it but by discussing and understanding the reasons for different decisions will put both of you in a better position to deal with the matter. If you have hired an expert defense attorney (by doing appropriate research and asking them about their background and experience) then you need to defer to their good judgment.
There will be other questions to ask and you need to understand that these matters are provided as background and you need to speak with an expert to obtain appropriate advice for the sort of criminal charge that you face.
Source: Amanda Kazzi, Sandford Defense Attorney