Common Criminal Defense Strategies

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2015 | Uncategorized |

First things first, everyone needs to remember they are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Presumed innocence of a suspect is a cornerstone of American law.

While every case is unique to its own set of circumstances, there are some identifiable criminal defense strategies that can be used for a number of cases. Criminal defense strategies are typically developed around what facts and evidence the prosecutor is looking at and how they may construct their case.

Whatever strategy is chosen, one of the goals is to present the defendant in the best possible light. When a defendant begins speaking with a criminal defense lawyer, typically their story falls into three categories: Confessions, Denials, and Admit and Explain.

“…Here’s What Happened”


Confessions are exactly that. Defendants come to the office and tell their counsel they did in fact commit the crime they are being charged with. From this story, an attorney may look at possible procedural deficiencies taken by law enforcement. For example, not being told the defendant can have an attorney present for questioning or informing the defendant of their right to be silent.


Denials include flat out repudiation of the circumstances. Defendants claim they weren’t at the scene, did not commit the crime and knew nothing about it. An attorney would work to use verifiable witnesses and other techniques to substantiate the defendant’s alibi. The ultimate goal here is to obtain a “not guilty” verdict.

Admit and Explain

Finally, an Admit and Explain story often paints a picture of the defendant at the scene, but particular circumstances of their involvement are not in line with accusations. In this version, the defendant may have been part of a crime that they did not want to participate in but were coerced or tricked. For example, let’s say the defendant was asked to hold onto an object from a friend that was stolen, but the defendant was unaware of this. Upon learning the item was stolen, the defendant contacts law enforcement to help stop a crime.

Whose Truth is True?

The old saying that the truth is somewhere in the middle is wrong. In criminal defense there are multiple versions of the truth, based on each witness’s account of what events took place.

One witness could testify they saw you fire a gun when if fact a gunshot occurred the same time you were holding your own weapon to clean it. Each version is true, based on what the witness believes they saw occur.

Other examples include bringing circumstantial evidence to light that led to the charges.

Some other strategies that lawyers typically use to win a case include winning jury sympathy for the defendant, utilizing defendant coaching to ensure a better memory of the events that took place amongst other cross examination techniques.

What You Need to do Next

Regardless of the circumstances of a criminal charge, defendants are encouraged to speak with an attorney regarding his or her options for trial. Contact Us at The Law Offices of Hall Ricketts Gurbacki, P.C. for more information on criminal defense strategies.