A police officer arresting someone does not automatically lead to their prosecution. Officers will need to present whatever evidence they have collected during their interactions with that individual to a prosecutor. The prosecutor must then determine whether that evidence is sufficient to secure a conviction at criminal trial. The state ultimately needs to have evidence capable of convincing a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that someone violated Indiana state laws.
Depending on the charges that someone faces, the evidence against them might include financial records, biological evidence such as fluids or tissue gathered at the scene of the crime or even security camera footage. When the state has evidence, defendants may feel as though all they can do is plead guilty even if they still maintain their innocence.
However, it is sometimes possible for those facing criminal charges in Indiana to fight back against the charges they face by challenging the evidence the state has collected. These are some of the more common ways of challenging evidence during a criminal trial.
They show that the evidence is not legal
For the state to use evidence during criminal proceedings, its agents will need to adhere to best practices while collecting the evidence. Police officers generally need to have a warrant, probable cause or consent in order to conduct a search of someone’s property or person, for example. When a criminal defendant can show that police officers violated the law or their rights, they could use those issues to challenge the legality of using certain evidence.
They reinterpret the evidence
Perhaps someone wants to show that the state’s evidence largely relies on questionable junk science. Challenging blood spatter or 911-call analysis evidence could require raising questions about the accuracy of such evidence. Other times, people may challenge not the science itself but rather the analysis by the state or its experts. Bringing in expert witnesses to provide an alternate interpretation of the evidence can raise questions about whether someone truly played a role in a criminal incident or not. Evidence ranging from enhanced video footage to chemical test results may be less reliable than people generally assume and subject to challenges during a criminal trial with the right expert’s support.
To successfully undermine the state’s evidence, defendants usually need to start by analyzing what the state gathered. Making use of discovery rights and going over the state’s evidence with their attorney is a very important step for those hoping to fight criminal charges in Indiana.