Getting charged with a crime can strike fear into even the bravest person. Prosecutors usually don’t bring charges unless they have some evidence to justify their efforts. Some people become so frightened about the prospect of going to court and the implications that a charge could have for their reputation that they plead guilty instead of defending themselves.
The truth is that evidence is often largely subjective, so what the prosecutor feels clearly shows your guilt might actually help you secure an acquittal or even convince a judge to dismiss the charges against you.
Knowing how to defend yourself requires an understanding of the official record and the current facts as presented by police officers and the prosecution. Knowing the evidence against you before you go to court is critical to developing a proper defense strategy.
You can challenge evidence once you know about it
You have the right to discovery as someone accused of a crime, which means the prosecution has to give you information about physical evidence and provide a list of witnesses. Some kinds of evidence can be easier to challenge than other forms.
Chemical evidence from a crime scene with repeat pedestrian contamination before police arrived might not hold up to scrutiny. The same is true of evidence gathered and then improperly stored, meaning that there are omissions or issues with the chain of custody for the evidence.
You may be able to challenge the evidence based on problems with how police collected it or with how they stored it, but you have to have their records about what evidence they gathered in order to respond to it.
Knowing the evidence against you lets you change the narrative
Maybe there is some kind of genetic evidence that police officers and prosecutors believe tie you to the scene of the crime. However, you have a perfectly reasonable explanation for how that evidence wound up there.
If you know what evidence the state has against you, you can take the steps necessary to corroborate your own version of events and demonstrate that law enforcement officers or prosecutors misinterpreted the evidence. Getting help with requests for information about evidence, the process of reviewing it and finding ways to use it to help your case can often require professional guidance from an attorney.