5 Goals In Developing A Self Defense Case
The issue of self-defense often arises when a person is arrested for murder or assault charges. The best criminal attorney’s use self-defense facts to better defend their clients. The main goals of developing a good self-defense case are:
1. Obtaining a “No Bill” from the grand jury. Most District Attorney’s Offices allow the criminal attorney to present a grand jury packet. In a self defense case grand jurors can review witness affidavits, photos, polygraph results, and expert reports. The criminal attorney can use this information to try and convince the grand jurors the defendant was legally defending himself.
2. Dismissal of charges. The criminal attorney can use the information gathered to persuade the prosecutor to dismiss the charge. This can sometimes be accomplished in assault cases. In murder cases the criminal attorney faces a tougher task to get a dismissal but it can be done with the right facts.
3. More favourable plea bargain. A criminal attorney can also use the information gathered to persuade the prosecutor to offer a much more favourable plea bargain. If the prosecutor believes his case is getting weaker then there is a greater incentive to lower give the defendant an offer they can’t refuse.
4. Obtain Not Guilty. Obviously if the case goes to trial then a strong self-defense case is the key to a Not Guilty. Proper development of that evidence and presentation to a jury is vital.
5. Mitigate punishment. If the self-defense facts are not successful in convincing a jury of returning a not guilty verdict the same evidence can still be used to the defendant’s advantage. Juries will still consider the self-defense evidence they heard in the guilt stage and will often mitigate the defendant’s punishment.
To meet any of these goals takes intense preparation and skilled presentation by an experienced criminal attorney. I will explore in detail the best ways to reach these goals in a later post.