Why being charged as an accused in a criminal case does not necessarily mean that you will be found guilty of that charge.
People invariably react with fear, anxiety and some react with outrage when they find themselves charged as an accused in a criminal charge. This is understandable. It is stressful to find oneself in a situation where one has to defend oneself. And this is exactly the mindset that an accused has to achieve.
If you are accused, you have to calmly assess your ability to defend yourself. You also have to assess the odds that the criminal charge against you will be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The success of any criminal prosecution depends upon two things: the ability of the prosecution to prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt and your ability to defend yourself.
Put the fear, anxiety and the outrage aside and think calmly and soberly. What are the chances that you will be convicted of this charge?
For one, the prosecutor has the obligation to charge you with a proper offense given the factual circumstances. If the offense charged is not proper under the circumstances, you might not be convicted and the charge might even be dismissed.
At the trial, the prosecutor must prove that you and not any other person committed the acts comprising the offense. The prosecution has to positively prove that you had criminal intent to commit those acts. If any of the prosecution witnesses fails to prove your identity or if the prosecution fails to prove that the criminal intent coincided with the commission of the acts, then the crime will not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Even with the prosecution’s best efforts to prove the acts and the intent, there are other things that might go wrong with the prosecution’s case. Evidence might not be processed in time for the trial or evidence might be misplaced or mislabeled. Witnesses may move away or get hired overseas or in another state which means the witness may not be able to testify against you.
The police officer who will testify in your trial may make mistakes in his recall of events. He may have made a mistake in gathering evidence or in implementing a search warrant or a warrant of arrest. The police officer may have made a mistake: he may have failed to identify himself when he approached you or he failed to give you, the accused, proper warnings about your rights as an accused.
Amid all these variables, the law allows you to establish and prove your defence. Yes, the law allows you certain defences. Defences are legal principles amounting to an excuse or justification that either mitigates or absolves an accused from criminal liability.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.