As a criminal lawyer in Arlington, we conduct an independent investigation of each case. It’s extremely important to get the most information possible about a client’s case and it provides the defense attorney with a better idea of the defenses and the motions that need to be filed on the client’s behalf.
With this in mind, it is important you consult with an attorney as soon as possible so they can begin investigating and laying the groundwork for a strong defense. To learn more call and schedule a consultation today.
An attorney will conduct their own investigation based on the first conversations that take place with the defendant. An attorney will want to know who could potentially be a witness – somebody who either saw something or heard something, whether or not the location in which the incident occurred would have any type of video camera with audio or visual recording, whether or not the police officer involved in the case had any type of cameras on their vehicles or on their person that would potentially be helpful or provide information. Additionally, if there are other defendants involved in the case, it is important to always check to see whether the other defendants have made any statements on any type of social media account concerning the event.
This the first step an attorney will generally take in it’s own investigation, in addition to reaching out to the police officer and the prosecutor to see if they are willing to discuss the case with the defense.
The evidence discovery process in Arlington is as follows: an attorney can request that the government provide them information about the charges against his or her client, and the basis for the charges against the client is not a very robust process.
In Arlington, discovery is generally not provided to you in misdemeanor cases until the day of trial because, in the way the law is written, the prosecution doesn’t have to give you the evidence until the time of trial. There are some exceptions to this, but for the most part, counties in Virginia won’t give you information until you actually arrive in court that day. This makes it even more important that you hire a defense attorney who is familiar with your type of case so that they know what to look for and what to ask during the course of their own investigation.
Some aspects of Arlington cases that would change the nature of defense investigations depend on what type of offense you are being charged with specifically. This might be the number one thing that informs defense attorneys when they are creating a plan for investigations. For example, if you’re being charged with a crime in which you are being accused of, such as possessing an illegal substance, a defense attorney is going to turn to an investigation that would allow them to examine exactly how the illegal substance was determined to be illegal, whether or not any testing of the substance was done correctly, whether or not the lab that tested the substance was conducting its procedure correctly, and whether or not the substance was correctly passed through a chain of custody through the police officers to the lab and back. A good defense attorney will, based on what you’re charged with, conduct an investigation into all of the potential legal defenses that you might have.
Another example of how a charge could inform a defense attorney’s investigation would be if you’re charged with reckless driving, for instance, a defense attorney is going to look into how the police officers were able to observe your speed and record your speed.
A good defense attorney will look at the position the police officer or the trooper was in when they supposedly caught your speed and how they caught your speed, did they pace you, did they use radar or LIDAR, was the instrument calibrated correctly and within the correct amount of time that it needs to be calibrated. These are all questions that the defense attorney will consider, based on what you’re charged with, to help them figure out who they need to talk to and what information they need to get from witnesses or from the police officer investigating your case.
The government does not give you access to all their information or evidence in an Arlington case. What a defense attorney and what the defendant are entitled to are simply a small amount of information, more specifically: any statement of the defendant and any documents containing statements of the defendant, but they can be redacted. Additionally, anything that could potentially be exculpatory or could help prove the innocence of the defendant.
The problem is that the person that decides whether or not evidence is exculpatory is the prosecutor and there is practically no way to review whether or not a prosecutor made the wrong decision. The prosecutor gets to look at the evidence and decide what, if anything, needs to be released to the defense or the defense attorney.
The government has a longer time to investigate and prepare their case simply because they know about the case before you are formally charged. In certain cases, they have been preparing, for months, to bring the charges against you so they have been able to compile a lot of information that they can use to try to convict you of a certain crime.
The disadvantage in time and information can put a lot of pressure on defense attorneys to find out as much as they can in a short of a period of time as they can. A good defense attorney will speak with you after hearing the initial facts of the case during your consultation, will speak with you about an investigative plan, and figure out who needs to be spoken to that could be a potential witness, what places need to be visited, what videos exist, or what helpful recordings might need to be preserved right away in order to be able to be used again.It’s important to make a solid investigative plan early on, in order to try to make up for lost time. It’s important to call the defense attorney as soon as possible, either as soon as you are arrested or as soon as you think that an investigation is being conducted surrounding an incident you were a part or one that might be conducted against you.