When you’re charged with a criminal offense, the police and prosecutors are going to mount evidence against you to the point that it seems insurmountable. But law enforcement and the prosecutor are far from perfect. They often make mistakes that put you at risk of being wrongfully convicted or otherwise convicted based on illegally obtained evidence.
If you want to avoid that outcome from happening to you, then you need to be on the lookout for errors made during the criminal investigation process. Only then will you be able to point them out to the court, protect your rights, and potentially beat the charges levied against you.
Common errors made during criminal investigations
Mistakes can be made at any point in a criminal investigation. So, go back as far as you can to see if the police made any of these mistakes in their investigation:
- Conducting an illegal search: A lot of searches are conducted after an individual consents to such a search, which you should never do, but even those that aren’t conducted pursuant to consent are carried out through the utilization of an exception to the warrant requirement. There are a lot of exceptions that can be used, but the police often misapply them. If you can find an error here, then you might be able to block incriminating evidence from being used against you.
- Illegally securing a warrant: The police need probable cause to get a warrant. Sometimes, though, the police exaggerate or even falsify evidence to clear that hurdle. If that’s happened in your case, then you’ll be able to prevent the prosecution from using evidence that was obtained through the execution of that invalid warrant.
- Failing to advise you of your Miranda rights: If you’re subjected to custodial interrogation, meaning you can’t leave the interview, then the police must inform you of your Miranda rights, which includes the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If you’re not advised of your rights and subsequently make a confession, then you can likely block that confession from being used against you at trial. Police officers often make the mistake of thinking an interview isn’t custodial in nature when it is in fact.
- Improperly collecting and storing evidence: To have evidence admitted at trial, the prosecution is going to have to satisfy the court that the proposed evidence is what the prosecution claims it to be. In many instances, though, the police make mistakes in collecting and storing evidence. They might even fail to properly secure a crime scene. These issues can compromise the validity of the evidence, thereby rendering it useless at trial.
- Relying on witnesses who lack credibility: Sometimes the police and prosecutors build cases on the statements of those who shouldn’t be trusted. Fortunately, you’ll have an opportunity to attack witness credibility at trial, but successfully doing so will require proper preparation.
Don’t be convicted on a flimsy case
The outcome of your criminal case can have a profound impact on your freedom, your reputation, and your future. To protect yourself as much as possible, you need to know how to aggressively defend yourself, and you might have several options for doing so.
That said, you need to know the law and how to exploit it to your advantage in your criminal case. You might think that’s hard to do, but there’s help and support out there to ensure that you’re able to zealously advocate for yourself and maximize your chances of securing the outcome that you want.