There is a good reason why people charged with a criminal offence almost never enter a guilty plea when they first enter a plea in front of a judge. It is not easy to prosecute a criminal case. It is a Prosecutor’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged with a crime is guilty. Because criminal convictions come with life-changing and extremely serious consequences, to prevent innocent people from being convicted of a criminal charge, the criminal justice system and its processes contain a strict set of rules and procedures that govern criminal trials in order to protect the rights of those charged with a criminal offence and hopefully assure a ‘just’ outcome.
When facing a criminal charge, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Until the prosecution proves otherwise, that is, a judge or jury renders a verdict of not guilty, according of the law, you will remain innocent. When you face a criminal charge, you are actually facing an unproven accusation with the burden of proof being the job of the prosecutor. In many cases, there are accusations that have been made that will not be proven. In such cases, charges can be dismissed or the defendant may be found not guilty.
A prosecutor must prove that you are guilty of the charge. In other words, the prosecutor must show you actually committed the crime and you knew you were committing the crime. Charges have been dismissed because a judge found there was no evidence to show a person acted with intent to commit a crime. For example, if you purchased what you thought was an illegal drug from someone on the street and the police found the item in your pocket and charged you with possession of an illegal substance, but it turns out not to be an illegal drug, the prosecutor would have to prove that you believed you were buying an illegal drug. That is, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt your intent was to buy the illegal drug. In such a case, there may be a number of arguments and evidence put forth to establish reasonable doubt. It can be a complicated task which is why criminal lawyer representation is so important when charged with a crime.
In criminal cases, sometimes key evidence to prove guilt may be ruled inadmissible and the evidence is not submitted at trial. For evidence to be submitted to the court, it has to have been properly collected. If not collected properly such as the police performing an illegal search and seizure or a confession taken after a person asked for a lawyer, it can be excluded from trial. When this happens, a case could be dismissed, charges reduced, or the defendant may be found not guilty due to lack of evidence. Criminal lawyers are experienced in determining if evidence was collected properly which is why they are so important in the criminal justice system. Without certain key evidence, there may possibly not be a conviction.
As you can see, if you are charged with a crime, it does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. There are many events that can occur during the course of the criminal process that can be to your benefit. When charged with a crime, don’t plead guilty without first hiring and talking to a criminal lawyer. Click here for more information.