When charged with a crime, most people realize how important it is to quickly engage the services of a criminal defense attorney in our office. The criminal justice system is extraordinarily complex. People who are facing the possibility of losing their reputation, suffering large financial losses or losing their freedom, need to have a defense attorney to navigate them through the hundreds of potential pitfalls that make up this system.
The system is also designed to protect the innocent. It creates a sense of balance, which makes prosecutors and law enforcement follow a certain set of rules in order to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Very often, it is these very nuances that a defense attorney can use to get a client acquitted, or found not guilty.
Fruit of the poisonous tree
This may sound biblical, and in a sense, it could be construed that way. It is also a very important barrier to illegal activity by the police and overzealous prosecutors when it comes to how evidence can be collected and discovered. The doctrine known as “fruit of the poisonous tree” refers to evidence that has been collected by law enforcement in an illegal manner. For example, people have a Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure.
If a police officer searches a person without probable cause or reasonable suspicion that will hold water in court, then anything found by the officer will probably be inadmissible in court and cannot be used against the person on trial. A defense attorney is going to explore every piece of evidence to determine if it was obtained legally and if not to have it excluded from the trial.
Police and prosecutors know that if they obtain a statement from someone illegally there is a good chance that the statement will not be allowed in court. If police or law enforcement do not follow the necessary court laws with regards to obtaining statements, an experienced criminal defense attorney will have the entire statement tossed out.
More importantly, if a statement gets removed from the hearing, anything associated with that statement could also be deemed as “fruit of the poisonous tree”, and excluded. Confusing? That is precisely why it is necessary for lay people to hire an attorney when they face criminal charges.
One size does not fit all
Each criminal defense case is different and will be handled by your attorney in a unique manner. This makes it critical for a person accused of a crime to do two things:
- Never agree, disagree or give any statements to the police or prosecutor that could indicate that you are waiving your rights or confessing to anything.
- Ask for and contact a criminal defense attorney immediately upon being booked and charged with a crime. This allows the attorney to arrive on the scene and head off any attempt to coerce a confession or leading the police to evidence.
Protect your rights and your future by calling our office and speaking with a criminal attorney right away.
Note: This is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.