Criminal defendants in Illinois may feel like they have an uphill battle to prove their innocence. After all, prosecutors typically do not bring charges against someone unless they feel confident that they can win should the case go to trial. Typically, major criminal charges in Illinois mean that the state has evidence supporting the allegations against the defendant. It is quite common for people to simply give up and plead guilty out of fear of the worst-case scenario.
However, a good defense strategy can raise questions about the validity, legality or implications of the state’s evidence. The following are some of the ways that people facing serious criminal charges can counter the state’s evidence during a trial.
By excluding certain evidence
Not all evidence is actually usable during criminal trials. There are strict laws about when police officers can conduct searches and how they question people. There are also rules governing the collection, storage and analysis of evidence. Defense attorneys can sometimes challenge the use of evidence gathered illegally. They can also point out issues with how the state handled or tested the evidence to prove that it is not trustworthy and potentially exclude it from the trial.
By presenting a different analysis
Hiring expert witnesses or forensic specialists is often a key component of a successful criminal defense strategy when a case goes to trial. Expert witnesses can go over forensic evidence or financial records to raise questions about the state’s claims against the defendant.
An expert witness could undermine the use of junk science, like blood spatter analysis. They could provide an alternate analysis that does not implicate the defendant. They could even provide information about how the state analyzed the evidence, such as the generative process of enhancing photographs or security footage.
When the courts understand that there are issues with the evidence, that may raise questions about the claims made by the prosecution. Countering the state’s evidence usually begins with the discovery process. The right of discovery gives a defendant and their lawyer access to the state’s evidence before a trial. As such, thoroughly reviewing state evidence with an attorney and finding ways to undermine it may help people prepare the best strategy for fighting criminal charges in Illinois.