Why You Might Present Several Defenses in a Criminal Case

A criminal defense lawyer frequently has to look at a case from multiple angles. For a defense attorney, this fact extends sometimes to how they present the defense. A client would rightly be curious about why more than one defense might be presented. Here's look at why that is sometimes the case.

1. The Defenses Are Compatible

Suppose there was police misconduct in a case. Perhaps a cop realized the case was weak and covered their mistake up by fiddling with the evidence. An innocent person in such a case would likely want to present proof of their innocence, such as evidence that they were someone else at the time of an alleged offense. That's one defense. At the same time, their criminal defense attorney would absolutely want to bring police misconduct to the court's attention. That's a second defense.

In other words, the two defenses are completely compatible. After all, an innocent person could be the victim of police actions. Both defenses can and should be presented.

2. It's Early in the Case

Presenting multiple defenses can get tricky as a case moves forward, but it's an especially viable plan early on in the process. Initial hearings are an opportunity to look at questions about why the police thought there was a crime, how the prosecution has brought charges, and whether the court should consider dismissing things entirely.

A defendant might present an argument as a matter of law, such as questioning whether a search warrant was validly acquired. Simultaneously, the defense attorney might also try to raise questions about court procedures, such as whether the pace of the case violates due process rights.

To refute these defenses, the prosecution might have to lay out more of their case than they might like early on. Surprising things can happen when you shine a light on a prosecution. For example, it's not uncommon for drug cases to be withdrawn for fear that showing too much could jeopardize a bigger investigation.

3. To Test the Judge

Going to trial is rarely the best way to try to win a case. The best approach usually involves piquing the judge's interest in something about the case. A defense attorney might field several different arguments to test drive how the judge will respond. Perhaps the judge doesn't seem particularly interested in an argument on the constitutional law side of things, but they might be very curious about something simple like the chain of custody for a piece of evidence.

Learn more about handling your case by contacting a criminal defense attorney.