Evidence in Norfolk Criminal Cases

Charged or accused of committing a criminal offense in Norfolk, Virginia? The following is information on what the prosecution needs to prove and how they typically go about obtaining the necessary evidence. If you are facing criminal charges consult with a criminal defense attorney in Norfolk today to discuss your case.

What Does The Prosecution Have To Prove In Court?

In court, the prosecution is the side that has the burden of proof. This means that it is up to the prosecution to demonstrate that the defendant charged is guilty of the charges against him. Therefore, they must demonstrate that each particular element of the charge in question is met. Elements are the requirements that need to be met for someone’s actions to constitute a full crime. For example, if the charge is driving on a suspended license, the elements of this charge are that 1, the driver had a suspended license, 2, that the driver drove while having a suspended license and 3, that the driver was aware of the suspension. If each element of the charge is met and proven beyond reasonable doubt, then a conviction can stand.

How Does The Prosecution Go About Proving Their Case?

This depends on each particular case but generally the prosecution proves their case through their evidence. Before trial, the prosecutors have investigators that interview witnesses and collect and sort different kinds of evidence. The evidence comes in a variety of forms such as witness testimony, expert witnesses, documents, phone records, photographs and forensic evidence.

Who Do They Have To Convince?

The prosecutors have to convince the judge during a bench trial which is typically in General District Court or they have to convince a jury during a jury trial which happens in Circuit Court.

How Do You As A Norfolk Criminal Lawyer Refute This Evidence?

Refuting the evidence is going to differ from case to case but generally the idea is to cast reasonable doubt on the evidence presented by the prosecutor. This can be done the same way that the prosecutor tries to prove their case, which is by presenting different types of evidence.

Are There Any Constitutional Issues That May Come Up In Norfolk Criminal Cases?

In Norfolk criminal cases, the most common constitutional issues are Fourth Amendment issues. Some examples of this are commonly seen in drug cases. For example, if someone is pulled over by an officer, the officer does not have the authority to search the driver’s car without some type of probable cause or without the driver consenting to the search. If the officer just has a suspicion without reasonable articulable suspicion that a crime has been committed backing up the suspicion, then this isn’t enough to search the vehicle.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Whereas if the officer does have probable cause such as seeing pieces of marijuana in the ash tray or if the car smells of marijuana, then the case of probable cause becomes stronger and the search is considered legal. These constitutional issues can impact the case by making a huge difference in whether the driver is able to be convicted or not. Someone could be 100% guilty of a crime but if the officer didn’t follow the correct protocol and instead violates the Fourth Amendment, then the case may be completely dismissed despite the defendant being guilty.