As someone accused of a criminal offense, you likely worry about the case the prosecution will bring against you in court. Thankfully, your rights as a defendant include the right of discovery. You and your attorney should receive a full accounting of all of the evidence the prosecution intends to present, from specific financial records to a list of potential witnesses.
Some people automatically assume that when the prosecutor has a decent amount of evidence, their conviction is inevitable. However, defense attorneys are sometimes able to fight back against criminal allegations even when the state claims to have a significant amount of evidence.
Challenging evidence under the exclusionary rule is one of the most common defense strategies. Essentially, defense attorneys can ask the courts to exclude any evidence collected illegally or due to mistakes by law enforcement. What are three of the scenarios in which you could challenge evidence?
When an encounter was not lawful
Police officers cannot randomly detain individuals on the street to see if they’ve committed any sort of crime. They can only detain or arrest those who they reasonably believe have broken the law. If an officer wants to arrest someone or physically search them, they typically need probable cause.
Whether a police officer engaged in racial profiling because you were walking in a nice neighborhood or pulled you over without a justification, you could exclude the evidence from court based on their lack of justification for the initial encounter.
When the officers violated your rights
Some criminal defendants have claimed that police violated their rights and convinced the courts to toss out certain evidence. An example would be a Miranda violation.
If a police officer failed to notify someone of their Miranda rights before interrogating them wow that suspect was in police custody, the criminal defendant could prevent any contradictory statements or confessions from playing a role in their criminal case.
When there is proof that an officer violated someone’s rights, a lawyer can potentially argue that the exclusionary rule applies to keep the evidence gathered after that violation out of court.
Those who know their basic rights have an easier time understanding when the police have violated them. If you suspect that the police did something illegal in their attempt to interrogate you or gather evidence against you, you may want to discuss those suspicions with your attorney. They could potentially use the information that you provide to analyze the situation and determine if challenging the evidence would work for you.
Learning more about different viable defense strategies will help those accused of a criminal offense.