Determining whether something can be beat at trial is a complex determination. Of the questions posed to Tampa criminal attorneys, this is obviously the most common. In short, it is necessary to consider a number of factors for making this determination. In this blog article, we’ll highlight four of the most important factors to analyze in determining whether the case is winnable at trial.
First, it is impossible to determine whether a case is winnable at trial without considering the unique facts of that case. For example, it’s always necessary to consider the nature of the defense to the charges. For many cases, challenging the veracity and truthfulness of eyewitnesses is a very viable defense. On other cases, if video evidence backs up and supports the eyewitnesses, it’s certainly not prudent to challenge those eyewitnesses. Another common defense that folks often wish to assert is that law enforcement planted the contraband on them. Again, the facts and circumstances of this defense certainly drive whether this is a viable and potentially successful defense. In some communities in the Tampa Bay area, folks may be more receptive to this defense than in others, but again this is something that has to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Secondly, the credibility of the witnesses is necessary to be considered to determine whether this is a case that can be won at trial. All cases involve witnesses of some sort, whether they are lay witnesses, law enforcement witnesses or both. In short, as a general rule of thumb, lay witnesses are far easier to challenge as to their credibility because of the sheer nature of a law enforcement officer coming in to testify in a criminal jury trial. Regardless of the jury instructions and the judge’s advisements against the same, jurors simply tend to give law enforcement officers more credibility than lay witnesses. Our firm has had great success in challenging the credibility of officers and their testimony throughout the Tampa Bay area, but this is still something we must consider in determining the strengths and weaknesses of your criminal case.
Thirdly, it is impossible not to consider the nature of the charges prior to determining whether a jury is likely to acquit you in your criminal matter. For example, in our experience, jurors are more likely to consider victimless crimes as not being as serious as those with a victim that appears before the court. The easiest way to think of this is that if the State Attorney’s Office can present a living breathing victim who suffered some loss due to a defendant’s actions, that is going to be more difficult to overcome than a misdemeanor possession of marijuana where there is no true victim, and no one can come in and describe how this case affected their lives. The nature of the charges goes beyond that simple analysis, but that’s a good place to begin. If you have questions concerning how the nature of your charges affects your ability to win in a jury trial, contact our office. We’ll discuss the same during a free case consultation.
Lastly, and potentially most importantly, one must consider the jury appeal of the charge and the jury appeal of the folks involved. This two-part analysis involves both considering the allegations against you and those that made the allegations against you. For example, a case involving an allegation of sexual violence or sexual abuse is certainly going to have less jury appeal in a self-defense case involving someone attacking someone’s spouse or child. Further, it’s necessary to consider the jury appeal of yourself and the witnesses against you. For example, if the majority of the witnesses against you are what are called “jailhouse snitches,” you are likely to have far more success than you would if a group of priests and nuns were to come and testify about someone stealing from a church. I understand this is a simple example, but it is necessary to highlight issues with credibility we see daily and juries will certainly consider.
If you or someone you know has questions concerning their ability to win at a Tampa jury trial in a criminal defense matter, contact the Tampa criminal attorneys at Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. As experienced Tampa criminal defense attorneys, we’ll provide you the costs and benefits of going to trial and our unique experiences concerning our evaluation of jury trial success for your specific case. Many times, a positive plea bargain can be worked out with the state attorney’s office once we’ve highlighted what we believe to be the strengths and weaknesses of our case and communicated those to the State Attorney’s Office. If you would like to contact one of our Tampa criminal attorneys immediately, please use the “contact us now” tab in the upper right-hand corner of our website. We appreciate your time and attention to this matter and look forward to working with you in the future in your Tampa criminal defense matter.