Due process represents one of the founding principles of the United States. People have the right to see the evidence presented against them and avoid conviction if reasonable doubt exists about their criminal charges. A criminal defense attorney in Indiana works to uphold this principle by developing a defense strategy for a client. The circumstances surrounding each criminal case influence how an Indiana lawyer may propose to protect a defendant’s rights. The top five approaches to criminal defense in the state could apply in a wide variety of situations.
Law enforcement officers and prosecutors can jump to conclusions or make mistakes. When you have been wrongly accused, a defense lawyer will attack the shortcomings of the evidence presented by law enforcement officials. This could mean questioning the accuracy of an eyewitness or establishing an alibi. By assembling sufficient evidence to contradict a prosecutor, a defense attorney may win an acquittal at trial or even convince authorities to dismiss the case.
Some violent crimes occur because an individual was in immediate bodily danger. A self-defense strategy could be an appropriate choice in an assault or homicide case when the defendant only retaliated with violence because no other reasonable response existed at the moment.
3. Defense of Necessity
Sometimes people know that they should not do something, but an emergency forces them to commit a crime to avert a greater evil. In order for the Defense of Necessity to apply the Court will look at the following factors:
- the act charged as a crime must have been done to prevent a significant evil;
- there must have been no adequate alternative to the commission of the act;
- the harm caused by the act must not have been disproportionate to the harm avoided;
- the criminal defendant must have entertained a good-faith belief that his/her act was necessary to prevent greater harm;
- such belief of the criminal defendant must have been objectively reasonable under all the circumstances of the case; and
- the criminal defendant must not have substantially contributed to the creation of the emergency.
An example could be a criminal defendant who was charged with driving without a license, but was driving to take someone to the emergency room at a hospital when no one else was available to drive, saving the individual’s life. For the defense of necessity to succeed, a defendant must show that the crime prevented harm and that the person had no acceptable alternative to breaking the law.
4. Constitutional Violations
The U.S. Constitution installed many rights to protect people from abuses by law enforcement. As a result, violations of Constitutional rights have the power to eliminate unlawfully collected evidence from a case or undermine authorities’ credibility.
For example, law enforcement must document a chain of custody for collected evidence. A broken chain of custody could enable a criminal defense attorney in Indiana to assert that it might have been tampered with.
If you committed a crime because you or someone close to you was threatened with harm, then you might make the defense claim of duress. Consider the plight of a person recruited by a gang. This process often involves making the person commit crimes, like theft or assault. Someone who refuses could get beat up or expose a family member to gang retaliation.
Don’t Deal With the Criminal Justice System Alone
An Indiana lawyer at Webster & Garino can supply critical legal advice before you enter a plea. A skilled defense lawyer may find opportunities to get a criminal charge reduced or dismissed. We can provide a free initial consultation. Call (317) 565-1818 right away.