3 Criminal Defense Options Besides Trial

Law Blog

When people picture a criminal defense attorney at work, they usually imagine someone presenting arguments at a trial in front of a jury. This is far from the ideal scenario for a defendant, though. Many other potential options are available for preserving a client's rights. Let's look at three ways a lawyer might try to help a defendant without going to trial.

Questioning the Charges at Arraignment

After someone has been arrested and formally charged with an offense, they will be compelled to appear before the court for a relatively short hearing called an arraignment. It is at this time the prosecution is obligated to lay out the basics of what they have proving a crime was committed.

For example, a case involving allegations of a criminal assault might include affidavits from cops who were at the scene. The officers may also be asked to testify to explain what they saw at the time and why they felt it was appropriate to arrest and charge the defendant. A criminal defense attorney may point to flaws in how the arrest was conducted or the reasoning used to file charges. If the case is flawed enough, the defense may move for it to be dismissed or for the charges to be reduced.

Discovery and Preliminary Hearings

Under American criminal law, the prosecution has to hand over all evidence they have. This includes evidence that proves their argument and stuff that may hurt their case. Production of evidence is known as discovery, and it's one of the best opportunities for a lawyer to poke holes in a criminal case.

The prosecution and the police are required, for example, to document the chain of custody for all pieces of evidence. If there are signs that someone lost track of a blood sample during lab testing, the defense can ask the court to throw the evidence out on the grounds that it can't reliably be shown to be clean. These sorts of motions are usually initiated during preliminary hearings in the run-up to a trial.


Lots of cases are resolved by pleading charges down, too. The prosecution might not have the strongest of cases, and they may be willing to consider a lesser charge. For example, an assault case from a bar fight might plead down to disorderly conduct. Some states with diversion systems may even allow first-time offenders to have their records cleared upon completion of drug-and-alcohol counseling or anger management classes.

Knowing all this will help you if you are looking to find a criminal defense attorney, like divorce-longislandlawyers.com or other lawyers. You will be able to know how your attorney is helping you to avoid going to trial, if at all possible, and have the situation settled properly and correctly.


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After I was accused of doing something that I knew I didn't do, I knew that I needed a trained lawyer by my side to help me to fight the bogus charges. I started talking with different attorneys, and I was able to find a professional that really understood what I was up against. He helped me to identify the different challenges I would be faced with, and he walked me though the entire process. Because of his understanding and diligence, I was able to fight the charges, and it was an incredible feeling. Check out this blog for more information.