Strategies for Winning a Felony Case

Felony Case

Fewer than one in ten federal criminal cases ends in the defendant’s favor. Even among those that go to trial, five in six defendants end up with a felony conviction. State cases don’t turn out much better.

If you have a felony case built against you, you might feel hopeless. The deck often feels stacked against defendants. Even if all you want is a lighter sentence, how can you possibly win against numbers like that?

The house advantage can get big, but a good criminal defense attorney can still get you reduced time or even win your case. You need a solid legal strategy for your case, though.

Here, we’ll look at the strategies lawyers use to win a court case.

What Is Reasonable Doubt in a Felony Case?

The standard for a conviction requires jurors to conclude that a felony was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. The best way for a criminal defense lawyer to win involves introducing that reasonable doubt.

Introducing reasonable doubt can take a lot of forms. Sometimes defense attorneys will get the jury to question a witness’s credibility. Other times this involves offering alternative explanations for pieces of evidence.

If evidence and witnesses for the prosecution look less credible than those of a murder attorney, a jury may find in favor of the defendant.

Mens Rea

While some crimes fall under the category of strict liability, most assign some value to the intent of the criminal. Someone who hits someone with a car by accident will receive a lesser sentence than someone who runs down a pedestrian. Lawyers call the intent element of a crime by the name “mens rea,” Latin for “guilty mind.”

When the evidence is incontrovertible, a lawyer may argue that the crime was not intended. This may not feel like winning a court case, but cutting your prison stay by half or more is still an improvement.

Prove Impossibility

Proving the defendant was doing something else at the time of the crime also serves as an effective defense. If the crime was committed on July 17th and your vacation pictures halfway around the world span July 14th through July 20th, the case against you will collapse in short order.

The legal term for this type of impossibility is an alibi. If the defendant has an alibi, the likelihood of a conviction falls off.

Insanity Plea

In some cases, the court finds the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity. This requires the defense to prove that the defendant could not have had malicious intent due to impaired brain functioning.

While the insanity plea has become part of popular media, most lawyers avoid pursuing it. Proving insanity takes a lot of effort, and in some states, courts won’t accept it.

Zealous Advocacy

If you find yourself the subject of a felony case, you deserve a motivated lawyer who will find an effective strategy. Your lawyer will work with you to find the best strategy for the facts of your case.

If you’re interested in learning more about the court system, check out our legal section. It’s got news and commentary on many elements of the law.