Can You Beat A Case Before It Goes To Trial?

Posted on: 6 July 2020

For many criminal lawyers, the best strategy for beating a charge is to never let it get close to a courtroom. American criminal law places a lot of requirements on police officers and prosecutors before they can file charges and before a case goes to trial. Let's take a look at three ways you might be able to beat a case without facing a jury. 

Don't Do the Cops' Jobs for Them

People tend to be naturally talkative and cooperative. Unfortunately, that trait tends to make criminal lawyers cringe and cops smile. It's not your job to help the police, even if they don't like it. For most folks in most situations, the best strategy to beat a charge is to not say anything to the police without an attorney present.

Likewise, don't go out of your way to be chatty or helpful. They can do their job, and unless they have a warrant or want to arrest you, you can go your separate way once you're done talking with the help of counsel.

Challenging the Charges at Arraignment

If you are charged with an offense, you're next chance to beat it is at arraignment. This is the initial hearing required by law where the charges are read. The defense will have a chance to raise questions about why charges were brought, and the police and prosecution will have to explain what justifies detaining you. If the arguments made sound flimsy enough, most criminal lawyers will ask the judge to dismiss the charges.

Similarly, the defense will also have the opportunity to challenge the legal logic of the charges. If the laws cited seem to be inappropriate or inapplicable, the defense can seek a dismissal of the case.

Pre-Trial Hearings

Presuming the case makes it through arraignment, a series of pre-trial hearings will be scheduled. Of particular importance is what's known as the discovery process. This is a period prior to trial when the prosecution has to turn over whatever evidence it has so the defense can examine it.

Discovery can be a treasure trove because criminal lawyers may find that evidence wasn't properly handled or that it was acquired through questionable methods. Sometimes, simply poking around what the police were doing can make them worried you might turn up evidence related to another, more important case, too. The defense will have opportunities to ask the judge to not admit evidence, and they may once again seek a dismissal if the case starts to look flimsy.

Contact a criminal lawyer to learn more.


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