What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove in Court?

The following is taken from an interview with a Richmond criminal lawyer. To learn more about the legal process or to discuss your case call today and schedule a free consultation.

Well, they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a Virginia statue or Virginia law was broken by the by the defendant.  Prosecutors have to show those using witness testimony, physical or scientific evidence, and the defendant’s own statements among other resources.

What Does a Reasonable Doubt Mean?

Reasonable doubt is basically after the evidence is presented does someone have a reasonable doubt that the act occurred, or that a defendant committed a violation of the law, it’s a pretty strict standard.

And again, ideally, all we have to do is provide that reasonable suspicion, again, reasonable doubt in the Judge’s or Juror’s mind that the complaint in either judges mind or a jurors mind is that our defendant did not commit the crime.

How Does the Prosecution Go About Proving Their Cases?

Well, prosecutors will use a number of means to prove the case. Number one is to provide a testimony of the officers on the scene who charged the individual or charged the defendant.  They determine what evidence led the officer to charge the defendant, if they personally witnessed the actions or just charged based on other statements.

Number two, they will provide any witness testimony that they have. Witness testimony can either come from the victim or if there are any  independent witnesses that can corroborate the victims story or saw the events take place.

And then number three, what they’ll do is present physical evidence of the act itself or the violation, whether that be evidence of a stolen property, weapons, emails, pictures, or medical records.

If it is a drug case they’ll provide documentation from the department of forensic science. In a drug case, the drugs will be submitted to the department of forensic science for analysis.   The department of forensic science will then test and measure the items and submit their findings which the prosecution will attempt to present as evidence.  The department of forensic science also does analysis on blood and DNA in criminal cases.

How Do You, As a Richmond Criminal Lawyer Refute This Evidence?

Well, number ones, we cross examine the witnesses. What we’re trying to do is determine if they are telling the truth, if they have ulterior motives, or if the possible did not see or witness what they claim. Number two; determine if there are holes in their testimony. In other words, are they leaving out facts or you know, routinely, eyewitness testimony is not as accurate as most people think.

Next we examine the state’s evidence and determine if there are issues with state’s findings.  There can be problems with chain of custody or the findings that were made.   We can also provide our own experts to refute the findings made by the State.

We will also attempting to present our own witness, if any, to refuse the victim or state’s witnesses. This can be anything from someone who also witnesses the events to someone who can provide an alibi for the defendant.