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A criminal defense attorney in Newport News discusses how evidence plays a role in court. In General District Court, the prosecution has to convince the judge because the judge makes the decision. If it is a case being heard in Circuit Court, then they have to convince the jury because they are the ones who would be making the decision.
To convince the court that someone has committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecution will need to present strong evidence, which can include eye-witness testimony and forensic evidence. Forensic evidence that are used in bigger cases like murder charges for example are:
This is collected by an investigative team of forensic investigators and then typically sent to a lab where it is analyzed and then the results are what is used at trial.
This greatly differs case to case, but the general idea is to cast reasonable doubt on whatever evidence the other side is presenting. This can be done effectively by utilizing the exact same kinds of evidence as the prosecution, but trying to present it in a way that benefits the person facing the charges, or by trying to explain why the evidence that the prosecution is presenting doesn’t point towards the guilt of the defendant.
The reason this differs so much is because there’s such a big difference between a reckless driving case and a murder case that you cannot possibly use the same exact tactic to refute evidence in those types of cases. It is absolutely subjective based on the type of case.
The most common constitutional issues that come up in Newport News criminal cases are search and seizure issues under the Fourth Amendment. These issues are most common in drug cases. An example is when a police officer pulls someone over for an unrelated charge and, for some reason after the stop, the officer was led to believe that the defendant maybe carrying a weapon.
If the officers have reason to believe the driver is armed and dangerous, then the officer is within his rights to ask the driver to step out of the car so that the officer can search him for weapons—and only for weapons—because it’s a matter of the officer’s safety.
In this kind of situation the officer is not allowed to frisk the driver for narcotics and if he did happen to feel something that he knew to be narcotic, like a soft baggie filled with something that really could be anything else, and he pulls out the baggie, this evidence would be inadmissible because it would be an illegal search and seizure.
Constitutional issues can have a huge impact on a case because, like in the example that I previously mentioned, if the officer had conducted a legal search of the defendant, then he is within his rights to charge this person now with a drug crime whereas due to the fact that the search was illegal, this person is completely free of any drug charges regardless of what the officer found. So, it could be the difference between a conviction and having the case dismissed.
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