Do You Need To Present Evidence In A Criminal Defense?

One of the biggest challenges a criminal attorney and a client face in handling a case is deciding just how much evidence ought to be presented. Each case has its quirks, and that makes it difficult to completely generalize. However, here are a few reasons why a criminal attorney services firm may or may not present evidence.

You Aren't Required To

The presumption of innocence until guilt is proven means that defendants are under any obligation by law to present anything. If you want your lawyer to go into court and say and show nothing, that's your absolute right.

Sometimes a criminal attorney comes close to do this because they feel the prosecution's case is fundamentally flawed. Rather than get overly engaged with the case being presented, the defense elects to leave it to a sensible judge and jury to figure out what's wrong on their own.

This sort of defense is common in cases where the defendant asserts that nothing happened. If nothing happened, then the logic follows that providing evidence that nothing happened can sometimes be very difficult.

No Disagreement on Facts

Another argument against presenting evidence comes from a lack of disagreement over the facts of the case. For example, a typical self-defense claim often acknowledges that the specific acts described by the prosecution did happen. In such a case, there isn't much value in presenting evidence because that's not what the fight is about.

Instead, these sorts of cases tend to hinge on matters of law. Self-defense cases are often about showing the court that certain actions were legally justified under the circumstances. A similar defense is sometimes used when the client believes nothing illegal happened. This is a defense commonly used to refute fraud and embezzlement charges, for example.

When to Provide Evidence

One classic scenario in which providing some evidence might be wise is when a defendant has an alibi. The prosecution alleges that the defendant was at the scene of a crime, but the criminal attorney insists they can show the situation was different. A defendant might provide cellphone records, for example, that demonstrate they were out of state at the time of the alleged offense.

Discovery requirements do occasionally kick in when a certain defense is provided. For example, if you assert an alibi defense, the prosecution can ask the court to make you provide evidence regarding the alibi. This includes the names of and contact information for any witnesses who might support your defense.