In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, courts throughout Rhode Island have implemented safety measures that have significantly altered the way cases are handled. For criminal matters, all cases other than those involving capital offenses, DUIs, and domestic violence are being booked out to April, with initial pre-trial hearings not scheduled until the first week of June. Although that's months away, that doesn't mean it's alright to wait to get started on your defense. Hiring an attorney now can have a substantial impact on the outcome of your case.
Many people's perceptions of criminal cases are distorted by what they see on TV or in movies. Basically, this version implies that someone is charged with a crime, and then a criminal defense lawyer goes to bat for them at a trial. Therefore, people may not be aware of the amount of work defense counsel does before the matter is heard in court – or even before negotiations with the prosecution begins. To build an aggressive defense, an attorney must thoroughly understand relevant laws and their client's situation. Getting started on the process while most criminal cases are postponed allows ample time for preparation.
Preparing to Tell Your Side of the Story
If you've been accused of a crime, you have a constitutional right to face your accuser and defend your innocence. This means that you can tell your side of the story to a judge or jury.
To ensure that your voice is heard and all sides of the situation are considered, you must work closely with your defense attorney. They'll want to know everything that happened in your case. They'll have questions about the events leading up to your being formally charged. They might ask about the investigation, the arrest, and everything in between.
Every detail matters, and anything that happened – regardless of how insignificant it might seem to you – can profoundly affect your defense strategy and the course of your case. For example, say you were accused of drug possession. If law enforcement officials didn't have a warrant to search you or your property, they might have violated your rights. In this situation, your attorney may file a motion to suppress the evidence. If the judge grants this request, the prosecution's case may be weakened, resulting in dropped charges.
Having months to discuss the situation from your perspective helps ensures that your attorney has all the details.
Preparing Counter Attacks to the Oppositions Arguments
Telling your side of the story is just one piece of case preparation. Your attorney must also be ready to challenge accusations the prosecution makes against you.
To do this, your attorney must be able to anticipate the prosecutor's arguments.
Among other things, they'll need to know:
- What laws/legal precedent is the prosecutor likely to refer to.
- What witnesses might say in court.
- How the prosecutor may present evidence to support their assertions.
The above are just a few examples of things your lawyer must anticipate. Criminal cases are complex and dynamic. Your attorney must consider all angles of approach. Having months to do this allows them to spend a significant amount of time thinking through the prosecutor's strategies.
Developing a Sound Defense
To build a solid defense that tells your side of the story and anticipates the prosecutor's moves requires an in-depth understanding of the law. Your attorney needs to know what's at issue. And although they'll likely be familiar with the law, because each case is unique, doing a deep dive into the statutes specifically related to your matter is crucial.
It's also necessary that your attorney speak to witness and gather evidence. Carrying out each of these tasks is a lengthy process. And it doesn't end after the needed information is acquired. Your attorney must also analyze it to determine the best approach for crafting a compelling defense.
Getting Started on Your Case Now
Although your criminal case might be postponed, working with an attorney long before your scheduled court date is essential. The amount of time needed to review documents, analyze evidence, and prepare a defense is significant. Now is the best time to begin the process.
At The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq., we're ready to get to work right away on your case in Rhode Island. Schedule a free consultation by calling us at (401) 312-4385 or contacting us online today.