Criminal law enforces punishment against offending parties. Due to the nature of it, law enforcement officials around the world use criminal law to enforce appropriate punishment for those offenders.
However, what if an offending party was found innocent all along? Sometimes, criminal law enforcement can trap innocent parties in legal proceedings that typically enforce punishment against the guilty parties. Fortunately, the innocent can protect themselves against these charges when they do face them.
Innocent defendants and criminal charges
According to the legal resource Nolo.com, innocent defendants may be found liable for a crime in several ways. There are, however, several ways they can avoid a guilty plea or verdict if susceptible of a conviction.
Defendants who didn’t commit crimes get caught in legal trouble when certain scenarios occur. Using our same resource, here are several examples describing how innocent defendants may end up facing criminal charges:
Limited and/or inaccurate information in police filings/reports
Prosecutors who handle filing decisions receive cases, typically the police report of the offending incident. Sometimes, a police report may have inaccurate or limited information. Police reports may contain information based on misstatements or incorrect facts by witnesses; some reports may have inaccurate information written by a biased officer.
Intervention before receiving charges
A good criminal defense lawyer is an asset of an innocent defendant. In fact, innocent defendants are recommended to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible, if they can. If the facts concerning their case reliably suits their innocence, their lawyer can intervene before the prosecution files charges.
Getting the case dismissed
Innocent defendants usually wait until the charges are filed before their lawyer can step in. Despite that, the trial may not happen. A lawyer can help them weight their options to attempt a case dismissal.
Some lawyers may help the innocent defendant investigate the incident and find more evidence regarding its conditions, which may involve getting witness declarations. Some, however, may decide that further investigation with the prosecution may not be appropriate before the trial.
Letting the case happen
Most lawyers decide to wait for the case to play out for their defendant, as it’s usually the best move for their party. It can take months, in most cases, for the prosecution to find insufficient supporting the innocent’s involvement in a crime and, thus, their purported conviction. Depending on the case.