How do criminal defence lawyers investigate and gather evidence?
As a criminal defence lawyer gears up to defend a client against criminal charges, one of the critical tasks is conducting a thorough independent investigation of the case. Their role is not simply to consider the prosecution’s evidence, but to proactively uncover any additional evidence that could exonerate their client or lead to reduced charges or sentencing leniency. It requires creativity, tenacity, and an understanding of legal investigation methodology. Here is an overview of the techniques and approaches defence lawyers utilize when gathering the evidence needed to build the strongest case possible in their client’s favor.
Understanding the allegations and police perspective
After meeting a new client is learning as much as possible about the exact allegations and the existing evidence supporting the charges. It means obtaining the arrest records, police reports, investigator notes, and any other documentation of the investigation and seizure of physical evidence. The lawyer analyzes these materials to understand the narrative of events from the law enforcement perspective, so they know exactly what they need to rebut or grapple with. Getting inside the mind of the investigators often reveals shortfalls ripe for challenge.
Identifying witnesses to interview
Police reports also reveal the key witnesses already interviewed who made statements against their client. The defence lawyer needs to determine if those witness accounts are accurate or perhaps coerced in some fashion. There also may be additional peripheral players who witnessed part or all of the alleged criminal acts that went unreported by police. Tracking down and speaking to witnesses on all sides is crucial preparation and can turn up divergent perspectives the prosecution has not considered. Thorough witness interviews also reveal other tangible evidence like cell phone footage/messages, and sales receipts that support their client’s innocence or alternate sequence of events.
Visiting the alleged crime scene
Some criminal allegations like assault or theft have a definite crime scene where actions took place. A brampton criminal defence lawyers try to access, photograph, and visualize the site to compare it against the official crime scene description and witness accounts. Just being at the location sparks a recollection of something previously overlooked like obscured security cameras, and heavy pedestrian traffic that play into their defence arguments. If they are denied access for any reason, attorneys go to extreme lengths demanding warrants and court intervention to view the site before excessive changes undermine reliable analysis.
Financial records analysis
Financial documents come into play for almost any criminal accusation from drug trafficking to embezzlement to homicide for hire. Obtaining five years of bank records, and real estate transactions provides immense insight into their client’s legitimate income sources, standard expenditures, tax status, and outside payments to alleged accomplices. Skilled criminal lawyers use forensic accounting support if needed to diagram cash flows calling into question financial means or motives attributed to a defendant within a suspicious transaction sequence. Such analysis raises plenty of reasonable doubt if a defendant’s financial reality differs markedly from prosecution theories on possible criminal intent and activity. It is challenging work, but among the most rewarding feelings in law when meticulous fact-finding and keen strategy development engineer the well-deserved positive outcome a client desperately seeks.