How to Win Your Criminal Trial

by RyanD on January 11, 2013

When faced with criminal charges, many defendants worry that they do not stand a chance of winning their case. With careful preparation and planning, however, and a great criminal defense lawyer, defendants can arm themselves with some of the most important tools necessary to win a criminal trial.

Understanding Criminal Trials

The standard of proof in any criminal trial is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. This means that based on evidence presented, members of the jury must be absolutely convinced that the defendant is guilty of a crime. According to Cornell University’s law school, a “reasonable doubt exists when a person cannot say with moral certainty that a person is guilty.” In criminal trials, the burden of proof lies on the government, meaning rather than the defendant being forced to prove his or her innocence, the government must prove the defendant’s guilt.

Oftentimes, despite strict restrictions on criminal trials to make the trial as fair as possible, evidence is not the only thing that can factor into the jury’s determining of a guilty verdict. Without proper representation, many defendants make a number of mistakes that can lead to their incarceration.

One common mistake made by defendants is the decision not to testify at their own trial. While even the most experienced attorneys will caution some defendants against testifying, in some cases testifying may help sway jurors. In one study from Cornell University law school, researchers found that in a staggering number of cases, a defendant with a prior record opted out of testifying at their own criminal trial. While defendants often refused to testify for fear that their prior record would be disclosed to a jury, many of the defendants surveyed who failed to testify were wrongfully convicted (Blume, 2008).

Additionally, without the assistance of an experienced attorney, many defendants may offer false or coerced confessions, which can lead to a conviction. When presented with the evidence or charges against them, many defendants become exhausted, stressed or frightened, and may falsely confess to a crime. This is especially the case in instances where the suspect is a juvenile or mentally disabled, according to one study by a law professor at the University of Virginia.

Help from a Criminal Defense Attorney

While a lawyer will be provided for you by the government if you cannot afford one, hiring an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney offers you your best chance to win a criminal trial. An experienced attorney will help prepare you to stand trial, and ensure that you do not confess to any crimes you have not committed. They will explain the charges that have been brought against you, and work with you in the case that you will have to testify in court. Furthermore, many experienced attorneys will be able to prevent you from having to pay for a costly trial or go to court at all by working out a plea bargain, in which an offense may simply be plead down to a lesser charge or misdemeanor, allowing you to avoid jail time where possible.

This article was written on behalf of Atty. Michael S. Berg, a Criminal Defense attorney who handles criminal felonies and misdemeanors in San Diego County and courthouses in El Cajon, Chula Vista, Vista and downtown San Diego.




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