Washington, D.C. is reportedly experiencing a fresh surge in violent crimes, as police report a 54% increase in homicides last year. State policemen are responding zealously, with arrests and an appeal for more aggressive prosecution, in an effort to reduce violent offenses in the District.
Consequences of Criminal Conviction
Facing a charge for a violent offense is serious. If proven guilty, a defendant may face long prison terms, a steep fine, or both. A criminal conviction also brings collateral consequences such as an inability to obtain gainful employment, difficulty in acquiring a license, and difficulties in finding private and public housing.
Building a Strong Defense
If you are charged with a violent offense such as first-degree murder (also known as premeditated murder), you may be innocent or may have acted in self-defense. In either case, you need an experienced criminal attorney to build a strong defense against the prosecution’s accusations. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may be able to identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s theory, as well as issues or factors that can be raised in your favor.
Beyond Reasonable Doubt
In criminal cases, the prosecution generally has the burden of proving that the defendant committed the crime charged ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, the highest standard of proof required in litigation. Guilt is said to have been established beyond a reasonable doubt when there is sufficient evidence that no other possibility exists and there are no other reasonable alternatives.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can examine the charges and weigh the prosecution’s evidence against the defendant to determine the appropriate defense strategy — whether to take the case to a jury trial, enter into plea bargaining, or use other procedural remedies.
Washington, D.C. has a self-defense law that allows a defendant to present proof of any justifying circumstances that may lead to an acquittal. The defendant must present evidence that he or she acted in self-defense when committing the attack. After which, the burden shifts again to the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
Rules of Criminal Procedure
Prosecuting a crime in court requires strict compliance with complex rules and judicial rulings that interpret applicable laws and court procedures. Certain legal remedies may also be lost or be unavailable at specific stages of a criminal case. A skilled litigator can strengthen your criminal defense by anticipating legal maneuvers of the prosecution and responding with timely objections or filings.
If you are wrongly accused of a violent crime, presenting a strong defense strategy is in your best interest. Punishing people for crimes they did not commit is as unjust as failing to prosecute perpetrators.
In criminal prosecutions, the side that is able to convince a jury of its legal theory will prevail. In an effort to win their case, prosecutors ordinarily design their presentations to the jury in a manner that can put a defendant in bad light.
If you are innocent, you will need a criminal defense attorney who will fight for your side to be heard and protect your rights as an accused during trial. This may include filing timely objections to tainted or illegally obtained evidence, invoking certain rights that are available to you, and presenting compelling evidence to counter potentially damaging exhibits that the prosecution may have already submitted.
Proving innocence may not always be easy due to circumstances that are beyond your control. Entering a guilty plea is not the best option even when the prosecution’s proof against you appears to be strong. Pleading guilty to a violent offense when you are innocent will deprive you of the chance to be heard and of being absolved of the charge against you.
If you plead guilty, you immediately expose yourself and your family to life-changing consequences without ever knowing what your chances would have been before a jury.
Regardless of your innocence or responsibility for an offense, seeking professional legal advice can lead to well informed decisions. A criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case, inform you of the potential outcome, identify circumstances that you may not have known to be legally in your favor, and find crucial evidence that may exonerate you.
In Washington, D.C., the dedicated criminal defense lawyers of Lotze Mosley, LLP, have extensive experience in a wide range of criminal cases, defending even the most serious of violent offenses and obtaining not-guilty verdicts for many of our clients. Our firm is prepared to fight hard for you, investigate your case, explore all legal options, and advocate for you at trial.
We welcome your call at (202) 393-0535 to speak to our approachable attorneys about your situation.