Between the preliminary hearing and the trial, the defendant will have their work cut out for them to prepare for the case. The prosecutor will be doing everything that they can to build their own case for when it goes to trial. Your defense attorney will also be hard at work to get ready for trial.
There are formalized exchanges of information, where the prosecutor must share the evidence with the defense that they have gathered. Until this point, the defendant is mostly in the dark about what evidence the state has. The prosecutor had to list facts that evidence probable cause and convince the judge that they had the basis to proceed with the case. However, they did not need to disclose all the evidence. This all changes before the case goes to trial.
The Prosecution Must Share Evidence with the Defense (Including Exculpatory Evidence)
Discovery is one of the defendant’s legal rights in a criminal proceeding. When your case goes to trial, nothing that the prosecution does should be a surprise to you. By this point, they should have shared with you the list of witnesses that they intend to call and the physical evidence that they have gathered so you are able to prepare your own defense. Wisconsin Statute § 971.23 states both parties’ obligations when it comes to turning over evidence.
Equally important, the prosecution must also share some evidence that it is not using. If the prosecutor has found evidence that may clear your name and show that you are not guilty of the charges, they must turn it over to your attorney. Many defendants end up having successful grounds for appeal when the prosecutor does not turn over exculpatory evidence. If prosecutors have this evidence and do not share it with you, they have committed their own offense. If the prosecutor tries to introduce any evidence or call any witness that they did not share with the defense beforehand, it may be excluded at trial.
The prosecution must produce this evidence within a reasonable amount of time before trial. They cannot wait until the last minute, or else they are risking penalties from the judge. The prosecution also has an ongoing obligation to disclose evidence, even after they have already made one large-scale production.
Oftentimes, the prosecution will try to produce evidence in a jumbled and incomprehensible manner in order to make things harder for the defense. They may turn over scores of unmarked boxes in no particular order. You may need to go to the court to have the judge order a more reasonable means of production or devote extra time to deciphering the evidence.
The defense has its own obligation to share information with the prosecution. If the defense intends to call witnesses, it must also share the names and contact information. The defense must also share any recorded statements (written or audio) that it has obtained from witnesses.
The Defense Often Hires Investigators to Prepare for Trial
Preparing for trial also means that the defense is hard at work. Although it is the prosecutor who has the burden of proof, the defense cannot simply sit back and wait and see if they can meet that burden. Criminal defense attorneys will hire their own investigators to learn more about the facts of your case. Law enforcement has a built-in advantage here because they have seemingly unlimited resources and active law enforcement officers working on their behalf. The state has a large budget that it is more than willing to use to secure your conviction. However, all the money in the world should not guarantee a conviction when the facts and law are not in their favor.
You Need an Experienced Attorney to Prepare Your Case
Even though you may be working at a disadvantage, there are some resources available to you. Your attorney would probably hire a retired law enforcement officer who would investigate. Your attorney may also begin to hire expert witnesses in various experts that can testify in your favor at trial. The prosecution’s advantage is also somewhat neutralized because they must share evidence with you before trial, giving your attorney time to strategize about how best to attack it at trial. We will attack any weak points that we can find in the state’s evidence and effectively tell your story in court if you choose to go all the way to trial and fight the charges.
As your attorney, we would get down into the details of your case, so we will be prepared when the prosecutor presents the evidence at trial. We will leave no stone unturned to gather any evidence that could help clear your name at trial and defend the charges filed against you.
We understand that your legal defense will cost money. However, this is a cost that you must incur when your freedom is on the line. Without an effective attorney, the state would largely have much of its case unchallenged. However, when you have your own dedicated attorney who works for you, they will do everything in their power to contest the state’s evidence, either moving to have it excluded if it violates your legal rights or casting doubt on its validity. We will work to tell your side of the story and create a reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury.
Call an Appleton Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges, you must think ahead. If your case ends up going to trial, you have much work and preparation that cannot be done in a short period of time. It is vital to hire an attorney for your case earlier rather than later, so they can get started in preparing your defense. This way, you can present your strongest possible defense in front of the jury. Contact the attorneys at Hogan Eickhoff online or call us at (920) 450-9800 to schedule your initial consultation. We provide aggressive legal representation in a judgment-free manner.