How Does an Attorney Create a Criminal Defense Strategy?

Categories: Criminal Defense

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Anyone accused of a criminal offense will find themselves in a life-altering, high-stress situation. After all, if you end up convicted of that offense, your life will permanently change. Depending on the alleged crime, you may spend years in prison.

Fortunately, a reasonable defense attorney will devise a defense strategy. These strategies provide you with the legal benefits afforded to you by having an attorney, and ensure that the courts honor the fact that, as a defendant, you are innocent until proven guilty.

The way an attorney creates a defense strategy comes down to the type of case, the evidence against you, and what evidence they can suppress long before the trial even starts.

Understanding the Logistics of Creating a Defense Strategy as a Grand Junction Attorney

An attorney must rely on their skill and experience in criminal law to create a strategy that benefits their client.

In its purest form, a defense strategy is an argument, with evidence supporting it, put forth by a defense attorney to prove their client’s innocence. The defense used comes from the defendant’s version of the events, and it is designed to either push for a not guilty verdict or to encourage the prosecutor to offer a favorable plea bargain.

Considering the Credibility

One of the first things an attorney must do is examine the credibility of not only the defendant but any witnesses used in the case. They can also review the prosecution’s witness list and how likely those witnesses are to push the jury in favor of the defendant or prosecution.

Using Pre-Trial Motions

Sometimes, a strategy cannot develop until the attorney exhausts their pre-trial motions. The goal of these motions is to suppress as much evidence from the prosecution as possible. Suppressing allows them to disqualify evidence because it was obtained illegally or would create unlawful bias in the jury.

Gathering the Facts

A good attorney is one that has his or her strategy built on a thorough understanding of the case and their client. To do that, they must first:

  1. Communicate with their client. An attorney must communicate with their client. They need to get to know them, understand their life, ascertain their mental state of mind, and establish the relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim.
  2. Use discovery to their advantage. The attorney will use the discovery process to their advantage by looking for holes in the prosecution’s evidence. The defense will receive everything from police reports to laboratory testing, witness statements, and evidence the prosecution intends to use. Sometimes the discovery phase will help a defense attorney find holes in the case or even wrongdoing by law enforcement.
  3. Conducting their investigation. An attorney must investigate for themselves and establish their evidence. They not only take the prosecution’s evidence, but they must interview witnesses, visit the crime scene, explore inconsistencies, and sometimes hire professional labs and investigators.

Developing the Theory of Defense

Now that an attorney has the facts in front of them, they will work to create their defense theory. This tells the client’s side of the case  and answers any questions the jury would have after hearing the prosecution’s evidence.

In this theory, the defense attorney will have one or more of the following items in their strategic plan:

  • Show a consistency with the evidence: For every piece of evidence that hurts the defendant, an attorney will need to have an explanation. For example, the defendant’s fingerprints found at the scene might be explained by reasons other than committing the crime.
  • Gain sympathy with the judge or jury: The defendant needs to be someone that the jury would not reasonably believe could commit the alleged crime. Therefore, an attorney will tell the defendant’s version of what happen and show that they do not have the character to commit the crime.
  • Explain the events and why they happened: A jury needs to not only hear the defendant’s version of the story, but also see evidence supporting it. If the defendant claims he or she was out of town at the time of the crime, then the defense should be able to show proof – helping the jury doubt the defendant’s guilt.

Using Outside Help

After creating a defense theory, a defense attorney must then bring in outside help to strengthen their case and make their strategy valuable. Some outside help they might utilize includes:

  • Expert witnesses: Any time the defense wants to refute a piece of evidence from the prosecution, they need someone who is credible enough to do so. Expert witnesses investigate the case and testify. An attorney uses experts who are at the top of their field, including psychologists, medical professionals, laboratory technicians, and forensic scientists.
  • Trial consultants: If the case goes to trial, the defense team may need a trial consultant to advise them on how to establish their defense strategy, present their case, or approach a sentencing recommendation.
  • Jury consultants: If the case goes to trial, an attorney may bring in a third-party consultant to help pick the jury. Attorneys cannot exclude jurors based on discriminating factors, but they can try to weed out those who are biased against their client.

What You Need to Look for in a Trial Attorney

If you are facing serious criminal charges, you need to be aware of the importance of trial preparation and the steps an attorney takes to make your defense strategy.

You know you need the very best criminal defense, and you want someone who keeps the lines of communication open, has access to experts (when the case requires them), and is ready to work collaboratively with their team to get the best possible outcome in your case.

If you have been arrested for a crime, speak with an attorney quickly. The faster an attorney is involved, the easier the strategy planning becomes. Schedule your free consultation with Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., now at 970-704-0888 or contact him online with your questions.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.