Defendants accused of a criminal offense in Texas may feel frightened about the future. People often assume that they have few options for defending themselves even if they maintain their innocence. After all, Texas prosecutors typically only file charges in cases where they feel confident about the ability to convict someone during a trial. As a result, the majority of criminal defendants in Texas let their fears determine how they respond to their charges.
They may plead guilty because they don’t want to risk taking the matter to trial and potentially facing the worst penalties possible. However, pleading guilty is often a mistake, as it leaves someone at the mercy of the judge hearing their case. Additionally, the state’s evidence may not be as compelling or authoritative as people assume. The right to review that evidence could help people find a way to defeat pending charges.
Defendants have the right of discovery
Texas state prosecutors must provide information about the state’s evidence to defense attorneys before the case goes to trial. The right of discovery is the right to review the state’s evidence at length. Information about witnesses, reports about forensic evidence and any other evidence, like video camera footage, should be available to the defense team before a criminal trial occurs.
The defense team can then potentially plan a strategy that challenges the validity of the evidence or the way that the state interpreted it. While prosecutors do not have to divulge their strategy, they do have to provide an exhaustive list of all evidence that they might present in court. The defense team can then find ways to counter or undermine each different piece of evidence.
In some cases, it may be possible to exclude certain evidence from trial because police officers violated someone’s rights. Other times, it may be possible to raise questions about the accuracy of the evidence. Bringing in expert witnesses and forensic specialists could raise questions about whether the state properly handled the evidence or reached the right conclusion when evaluating it.
The best defense strategies often stem from a careful review of the state’s case against a particular defendant. Learning about the rights of those accused of crimes in Texas, and seeking legal guidance accordingly, may benefit those hoping to avoid a criminal conviction.