Criminal charges can leave you on edge. This is understandable given that a conviction can wreak havoc on your future, affecting everything from your job to your living arrangements, your education and your reputation.
And you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed by that prospect, especially if the prosecution seems to have a mountain of evidence to use against you. But even in these circumstances, you shouldn’t automatically rush to the prosecutor to ask for a plea deal. Instead, you need to carefully analyze the facts of your case to best determine what criminal defense options you might have at your fingertips. You might be surprised at their effectiveness.
Suppressing the prosecution’s evidence
One aggressive tactic that you might be able to utilize is the suppression of evidence. If you’re successful in doing so, then you block the prosecution from using certain pieces of evidence against you, even if they are extremely damaging to you and are highly indicative of guilt.
But how do you suppress evidence? To block this evidence, you’ll have to file a motion with the court. In that motion you’ll want to specify why the evidence should be suppressed, which could include any of the following reasons:
- Illegal search and seizure: You have constitutional rights that protect you from illegal searches and seizures. Yet, all too often law enforcement officers violate these rights. For example, you might be subjected to a traffic stop that leads to the recovery of incriminating evidence. However, if there was no justification for that traffic stop in the first place, then any subsequent search and seizure will likely be deemed illegal. This is known as the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, and it can be a powerful tool in seeking evidence suppression.
- Chain of custody errors: For prosecutors to use physical evidence against you, they’re going to have to demonstrate that the evidence is what they purport it to be and that it hasn’t been compromised. All too often, though, evidence is mishandled. If you can point out mistakes made during evidence collection and storage, then you may be able to raise enough doubt as to its validity to have it suppressed.
- Failure to appear at a deposition: You have a right to know what information the prosecution’s witnesses possess. One of the best ways to do that is by deposing them, which means taking sworn testimony outside of court and before trial. However, if you subpoena a witness to appear at a deposition and he fails to show up on multiple occasions, then you have justification for asking the court to block that witness’s testimony from being used against you.
- Violation of your Miranda rights: You also have a Constitutional right against self-incrimination. Police officers are therefore required to read you your Miranda rights, including you right to remain silent and your right to an attorney, any time you’re subjected to custodial interrogation. If you weren’t read your rights and subsequently confessed, then you might be able to suppress your own statements since they were obtained in violation of your rights.
Defend your rights, defend your future
We know it can be easy to be consumed by the worries associated with a criminal charge. But don’t let your anxiety paralyze you into inaction or spur you to quick resolution that isn’t in your best interest. Instead, carefully think about your criminal defense options and how best to exploit them to your advantage. An attorney who is experienced in this area of the law can help you there by guiding you through the process and assisting you in creating the strategy that is best for you.