Being accused of a crime is a frightening experience that changes your life forever. Even if you are innocent, proving it in a court of law is difficult without experienced legal representation on your side. Their job is to advocate for your rights and work to get charges reduced or dismissed by creating reasonable doubt about your guilt.
Investigate the evidence thoroughly
Analyzing all the evidence gathered against you is the first thing a skilled criminal lawyer will do. The evidence in your case may include police reports, witness statements, forensic test results, and surveillance footage. Attorneys are responsible for investigating every detail of the prosecution’s case. These include problems, procedural errors, credibility issues, and other evidence that could undermine the prosecution’s case. If sloppy police work led to your arrest, an aggressive defense lawyer will ensure the jury hears about it.
Interview witnesses and rebut testimony
All relevant witnesses will be interviewed by your criminal defense attorney to assess their version of events. Key witnesses for the prosecution then be cross-examined on the stand during trial. Skillful questioning uncovers contradictions, biases, and other factors that make a witness less credible. Your attorney may also call favorable witnesses of their own to counter damaging testimony. It is also possible to use expert witnesses to challenge forensic evidence or police procedures. The goal is to pick apart the prosecution’s case bit by bit.
Highlight your constitutional rights
During the investigation or arrest, did the police violate your civil rights? Common examples include unlawful searches, Miranda warnings that were not given, coerced confessions, and evidence obtained without a warrant. Your criminal defense lawyer will argue these violations make much of the prosecution’s case constitutionally inadmissible and invalid. Pointing out how investigators cut corners or ignored your rights weakens their position while reinforcing your innocence.
Present an alternate theory
Simply poking holes in the prosecution’s case may not be enough to avoid conviction. Your criminal defense attorney may also put forth an entirely different sequence of events and argue you’ve been wrongly accused or charged. For example, they may claim you acted in self-defense or present an alibi placing you somewhere else. Expert opinions and witnesses could substantiate this alternative narrative. Giving the jury another plausible interpretation of circumstances also serves to instill reasonable doubt.
Highlight mitigating factors
Even if some charges stand, your Toronto local criminal lawyers also works to mitigate penalties you may face if convicted. The best possible picture of you will be painted based on your background, mental health, addictions, and prior offenses. You want the jury to see you as an individual deserving of compassion. Effective presentations of mitigating factors reduce the chances of maximum sentences if a guilty verdict is won.
Negotiate plea deals
Plea bargains are more common than trials in criminal cases. Criminal defense attorneys negotiate with prosecutors to reduce or drop charges in exchange for a guilty plea. Controlling the outcome of the trial reduces the risk of losing. Plea deals that result in lighter sentences are facilitated by factors such as your limited criminal history and willingness to accept responsibility.