Criminal defense may range from fines and misdemeanors associated with traffic offenses and DUIs, to felony charges in regards to instances of abuse or even murder. In any case, the individual(s) charged with the offense is innocent unless proven guilty.

In regards to fines resulting from traffic offenses or some other minor offense, sometimes it is easier to pay the fine and move on. Sometimes it is less costly to the accused. When it comes to charges that may affect an individual’s freedom or reputation, a trial is sometimes unavoidable. When your future is on the line, you need to understand the law and how it works. Your attorney should be able to communicate to you the details of your situation. Not only what you could be facing, but why. The written law should be explained to you in detail. This includes your rights, and the rights of your accuser(s). This should precede any defense planning. Forewarned is forearmed.criminaldefense

Once this has been accomplished, a collaborative effort should be engaged in order to represent your absolute best interests. This means that both attorney, and client, are responsible for creating a strategy that will best demonstrate why or how the client is innocent of the charges. This also brings up a very important aspect of criminal defense. According to the written law, the accused does not have to prove their innocence, the accuser must prove guilt. As we all know, this is not always a valid demonstration of how the legal system operates. However, this concept should always be brought to the jury’s attention in the beginning of a trial. This concept allows for a vital introduction of defense. If innocence cannot be established or proven due to a lack of evidence or witness testimony, the aim is to interject doubt.

According to the law, guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If this cannot be done, by account of logical reasoning, the accused must be set free. As most layers know, however, this cannot always be done through the introduction of evidence, findings, or witness testimony. After all, your case is decided by a jury of everyday people. These people are from all walks of life. Jury selection is a fair process, but does not always yield the results the prosecuting attorney or defense attorney wish. This is where opening and closing statements come in.

The end result which renders a final verdict most heavily relies on these statements. Gaining the trust and/or understanding of a jury is what each attorney vies to do. Painting a picture of doubt or innocence is dependent on these statements. Your attorney should be fully capable of demonstrating this doubt through actionable words which result in rendering a verdict of not guilty by reason of this doubt.

It may be hard to maintain the validity of the concept, “innocent unless proven guilty”. Although, a good defense attorney knows the ins and outs of a courtroom and understands the concept of creating this doubt. With any substantial doubt introduced to a jury, you stand a much better chance of walking out of the courtroom, and salvaging any damage to your reputation that was caused by the charge to begin with.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

lexis-nexis-image lawyers-image justia-image hg-image findlaw-image avvo-image