People frequently feel frightened and overwhelmed when the state charges them with a crime. The more serious the alleged offense is, the more significant the penalties will be.
Some people are so scared of the consequences of a criminal conviction that they plead guilty in the hope of avoiding the worst penalties. Going to court to defend yourself could potentially exonerate you, which is certainly a better outcome than pleading guilty and living with the stigma of a criminal record.
Successfully defending yourself against charges doesn’t happen by accident. It is the result of careful planning. What are some of the more common approaches to criminal defense in Georgia?
Asserting an affirmative defense
Did you perform an act that the state alleges was a crime, but you assert that it was not a crime? In that case, you may want to raise an affirmative defense.
Self-defense is a common affirmative defense. An act of physical violence that would otherwise be a crime becomes legal when someone commits that violence to protect themselves or another person.
Defense strategies that acknowledge someone acted the way the prosecution claims but that focus on proving the legality of that behavior are affirmative defenses.
Challenging the legality of a search or of evidence
Sometimes, the best way to avoid a conviction is to prevent the state from presenting evidence that makes you look guilty. Situations ranging from laboratory contamination to police misconduct might give you grounds to challenge the evidence that helps the prosecution.
If the courts agree that the prosecution cannot introduce certain evidence, it may be much easier for you to avoid a conviction.
Creating a reasonable doubt with evidence or testimony
Can testimony from a close friend help you convince the courts that you weren’t present at the time of the alleged incident, even if the police did not put faith in your friend’s words? Is the state’s analysis of the evidence or crime scene questionable in the eyes of an expert who works in that field?
You may have many different opportunities to challenge the prosecution’s narrative and create enough of a doubt that a jury cannot reasonably convict you. Performing your own analysis of evidence or bringing in your own experts can help challenge evidence that seemingly points to your involvement in a crime.
Exploring all of the ways that you can defend yourself can lead to a more successful strategy when you do go to court.