Those accused of a crime usually know that the state has evidence to support the charges brought against them. Prosecutors generally do not pursue charges unless they think they have a strong chance of winning their case. The case that a prosecutor builds usually depends heavily on the evidence gathered by law enforcement professionals.
The more evidence the state claims to have, the harder it may be to defend against pending criminal charges. Many people give up before they ever go to trial and instead simply plead guilty. They assume that a prosecutor’s evidence would lead to their conviction even if they maintain that they are innocent. However, there are a variety of circumstances, including the three scenarios below, in which those accused of a criminal offense could potentially win at trial despite a prosecutor’s evidence.
Showing that the state obtained evidence illegally
There are numerous limitations on the conduct of police officers, and minor deviations from best practices can compromise the usefulness of different types of evidence. Police officers conducting a search without the right justification or questioning someone without providing them with information about their rights could affect the state’s case. Such misconduct could potentially culminate in an attorney challenging the inclusion of certain evidence because of how police collected it.
Proving that the evidence relies on junk science
There are many types of evidence that police and prosecutors have historically used that will not hold up in modern courts. For example, 911-call analysis and blood spatter analysis both have very limited peer-reviewed evidence supporting forms of conclusive evidence for criminal proceedings.
Showing that the state misinterpreted the evidence
What the state can derive from specific types of evidence will heavily depend on the knowledge of the experts reviewing that evidence. Defense attorneys often cooperate with expert witnesses who may be more knowledgeable and have a better understanding of certain types of science than the people working for the state. Presenting a different analysis of the same evidence could help raise questions about the validity of the state’s case.
Fighting the state’s ability to present certain evidence in court, questioning its accuracy or reinterpreting it can all be ways for those facing prosecution to develop a viable defense strategy. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.