Trial Tactics for Criminal Defendants
A lot is on the line when you are facing criminal charges and are about to go to trial. Being convicted of a crime can result in you spending years in jail. It can result in you paying substantial monetary fines. There are also many collateral consequences of criminal convictions. A criminal conviction can impact various aspects of your life, including employment, housing, voting rights, professional licenses, and education. Fortunately, if you are facing criminal charges and are about to go to trial, there are tactics that can help you optimize your defense and achieve a favorable outcome. Below, we share some trial tactics that can increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome for your criminal case.
Tactic #1: Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
It is crucial that you hire a criminal defense lawyer if you are facing criminal charges and are about to go to trial. While you have the right to represent yourself in your criminal case, it is in your best interest not to be your own attorney. Criminal defense lawyers are trained to handle criminal cases while you are not.
Tactic #2: Understand the Strengths and Weakness of the Prosecution’s Case Against You
After hiring a defense attorney, first, you should understand the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s case against you with your attorney’s help. Your attorney can assess the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutor’s case by reviewing, among other things, witness statements, police reports, and physical evidence.
Tactic #3: Build a Strong Defense Strategy
Once you’ve clearly understood how strong or weak the case against you is, the next step should be building a strong defense strategy. Your defense strategy may involve presenting negating or affirmative defenses. A negating defense is aimed at disproving the prosecutor’s case. For example, in a drug possession case, the defense attorney may argue that the defendant mistakenly believed the object possessed was an innocent substance. On the other hand, an affirmative defense offers justification or an explanation for the alleged actions. Examples of affirmative defenses include self-defense, entrapment, duress, necessity, and insanity.
The following are other ways of defending yourself in your criminal case;
- Discrediting the prosecution’s evidence
- Using expert witnesses
- Cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses
Tactic #4: Selecting the Right Jurors
In a criminal trial, the jury is responsible for deciding whether a defendant is guilty. Therefore, choosing the right jurors is a crucial trial tactic. Your criminal defense attorney can help you select the right jurors. Generally, these are people who are open-minded and sympathetic to your case.
Tactic #5: Effective Courtroom Management
Effective courtroom management is crucial during your criminal trial. Effective courtroom management entails presenting defenses and evidence in a clear and convincing manner. It entails being prepared to handle objections from the prosecutor and making convincing arguments. Your criminal defense attorney can help you with all this.
Tactic #6: Impeaching Witnesses
Another trial tactic that can help you optimize your defense and increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome for your case is impeaching the prosecution’s witnesses. Impeaching a witness is when you discredit or undermine the credibility of a witness by, for example, revealing an inconsistency, bias, or lie in their statements.
Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges and are about to go to trial, contact our experienced NYC criminal attorney, Mark I. Cohen, for legal help.