In the U.S. criminal justice system, a defendant is supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, such guilt must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the highest legal standard there is. With all of this being said, you may think that simply pleading innocence is enough, right? Well, while this may be the case, a criminal defense attorney would be remiss if other steps weren’t taken to help ensure you were not found guilty of a crime you did not commit.
Isn’t Pleading Innocence Enough?
In a criminal case, the burden rests on the prosecution to prove that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is no evidence or little evidence to support the defendant’s guilt, it is unlikely that the case will ever make it to trial. The prosecutor may try to offer a deal or may decide to drop the case altogether. If, however, there is some solid evidence that may support a guilty verdict despite a defendant’s claim of innocence, things may get more complicated.
There are strategies, however, that can strengthen a defendant’s assertion of innocence. For instance, there is the alibi defense. A defendant can try to show that it would not be possible that he or she committed a crime because he or she was elsewhere, away from the location of the crime, at the time the crime was committed. Witnesses and other evidence, such as receipts, can be strong pieces of evidence to collaborate an alibi assertion.
The defense may also attempt to weaken the case and evidence presented by the prosecution. This may be done by suggesting that the crime could have been committed by another party. Evidence itself could be undermined by suggesting the chain of custody of the evidence was tainted and, therefore, the strength and validity of the evidence itself could be called into question.
As you can see, a claim of innocence may, hypothetically, be enough to free a defendant of criminal charges. If, however, there is evidence that may potentially support the assertion that the defendant is guilty of a crime despite a claim of innocence, then other steps should be taken to help ensure that the criminal charge does not turn into a criminal conviction. The two best ways to do this may be to strengthen the assertion of innocence by supporting the claim with evidence that the defendant could not have committed the crime and to weaken any evidence produced by the prosecution.
Criminal Defense Attorneys
The dedicated criminal defense team at Navarrete & Schwartz is here to mount the strongest defense possible for our clients facing criminal charges. We know that the stakes are high and we remain the most zealous advocates we can be to help prevent a criminal charge from turning into a criminal conviction. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.