Although law enforcement officers receive extensive training to learn how to carry out their job duties while obeying the law and protecting citizens’ rights, they make mistakes all the time that threaten individuals with wrongful conviction. If you’re in that situation now, you need to aggressively defend yourself in hopes of avoiding the harsh penalties that are typically associated with a criminal conviction. In order to do that, you’ll want to be cognizant of some of the mistakes that the police make during investigations so that you can use those errors to your advantage in your criminal defense.
Common errors made by the police
There are a lot of errors that can be made during a criminal investigation. Any one of them could put you in a position to suppress evidence and beat the charges levied against you. That’s why as you work to build your criminal defense, you should be cognizant of the following mistakes that the police might’ve made in your case:
- Conducting an illegal search: Most searches are to be conducted with a warrant supported by probable cause. However, there are a number of exceptions to the warrant requirement. The police often misuse these exceptions, thereby conducting an illegal search and seizure. When this happens, you’ll be able to argue that the evidence gathered and presented against you is tainted with illegality and, therefore, should be deemed inadmissible in your case.
- Failing to read you your Miranda rights: If you’re being subjected to custodial interrogation, the police should inform you of your rights, including your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. If the police don’t inform you of these rights, any information they gain from a custodial interrogation can be kept out of court.
- Failing to protect the crime scene: It can take a significant amount of time to process a crime scene. If the scene is improperly maintained and protected, evidence can be tainted or even removed, thereby giving an unrealistic picture of what happened at the scene.
- Failing to adhere to chain-of-custody procedures: When physical evidence is offered in a criminal case, the prosecution is tasked with demonstrating that the evidence is what they claim it to be. But if the evidence was improperly collected, transported, and stored, there’s a fair chance that it’s become compromised in some way. This can render the evidence unreliable and thus inadmissible at trial.
- Providing false or misleading information: Even if a warrant is properly secured and executed, the basis of that warrant may be faulty. For example, an officer might lie or misconstrue facts in a warrant request, which would render the warrant invalid to begin with. This can lead to evidence suppression.
- Engaging in misconduct: The police carry a significant amount of power. This can be intimidating to you and to others who may serve as witnesses in your criminal case. If the police use intimidation practices or excessive force to get what they want, you might be able to use that fact to your advantage in your case.
Don’t leave your case to chance
When you’re hit with criminal charges, it can feel like your life is spinning out of control. But you can take charge of your criminal defense by thoroughly analyzing the facts at hand and finding the best way to counter the prosecution’s arguments and block evidence from being used against you.
This is going to require some legal know-how on your part, which is why now is the time for you to start educating yourself as much as possible so that you can build the compelling legal arguments that you need to protect your interests. Hopefully, then you can secure the outcome that most protects your freedom and your future.