Criminal Defense Investigators are sworn officers who collect evidence and information for a criminal defense attorney’s defense. They perform investigative duties as well as conduct interviews to build a strong case for their clients. Most criminal defense cases end with a plea bargain. This is when the defendant offers to plead guilty in return for leniency on some or all of the charges. Having an experienced investigator is critical to the success of any plea bargain.
Although the prosecution has several investigators (e.g., police officers, forensic scientists, and court reporters) on staff, many defendants gamble with little or no involvement with their defense attorney. Often defendants fail to provide sufficient evidence or information to prosecutors to build a strong case. Criminal defense investigators listen to the calls of the criminal defense attorney and then make phone calls and gather evidence on the client’s behalf. Sometimes this evidence can save the client from facing serious criminal charges.
Private investigators also interview witnesses for criminal defense attorneys. These interviews provide the final push for a conviction. Interviewing witnesses is not limited to criminal defense attorneys, but also to forensic scientists. Forensic witnesses are often the only ones able to match pieces of evidence to a particular suspect. Interviewing witnesses is critical to developing adequate and accurate evidence to present in court.
Additionally, the criminal defense investigator must follow all applicable laws and guidelines. These guidelines depend on the jurisdiction that the investigator serves. For example, in a child custody case the investigator must follow the laws of the state, the nature of the case, and the competency of the witness. In other cases, the investigator must follow ethical guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
An experienced criminal defense investigator must be meticulous in his or her manner of collecting and preserving evidence. Gathering and preserving evidence is not as easy as it sounds. It takes skill, precision, and attention to detail to obtain the type of evidence that is needed in court. This is why many witnesses are reluctant to speak with investigators.
The reluctance on the part of witnesses comes from fear of being found innocent. The mere thought of facing a criminal case where they might be found guilty drives a person to the brink of despair. It can also come from the fear of the outcome. A guilty verdict will most likely bring additional stress to the life of the accused. Attorneys will often work aggressively to find and obtain the information that is necessary to prepare their client for a trial.
Interviewing a witness is often the first step to uncovering proof of innocence. The criminal defense attorney does not have to rely solely on the statements of a suspect. Expert witnesses who examine the physical evidence and gather forensic evidence that points to the guilt of the defendant can provide strong testimony in court. A good investigator reconstructs events to fit the witness’s accurate description of the suspect’s behavior.
When a criminal defense investigator successfully builds a case by using a combination of interviewing and cross-examinations, the defendant may be found innocent. The innocence project takes time and planning. It involves gathering evidence, doing research, and having the criminal justice system work in your favor. To build a case against an innocent individual, law enforcement officials must do their part by following the evidence trail from beginning to end. With the help of an experienced investigator, the government may be able to get a resolution to a situation that may have dire consequences.
Private detectives are able to utilize technology to supplement police reports and obtain other important evidence that can help to build a strong case. Computer forensics is one area in which many private investigators specialize in. For example, some investigators recover deleted text messages or other data from cell phones. Other investigators access police reports and review recorded telephone conversations to determine the accuracy and content of statements by witnesses. Many private investigators also review medical records, collect bank records, and check records with death certificates and vital records to verify identity.
The process begins with a defendant who wants to prove their innocence. A DNA test or fingerprint examination will confirm whether or not they are guilty. From there the investigation continues. Often, it is common practice for a lead investigator to follow the evidence all the way to the end, interviewing suspects, gathering information, and using their resources to build a strong case that can be maintained in court.
A criminal defense attorney is responsible for building a case by locating credible witnesses, gathering evidence, performing investigations, and presenting cases in court. It is up to the attorney to decide if he or she will hire private investigators to build a strong defense. If you decide to pursue this option, you should do your research carefully and talk to several prosecution attorneys before hiring any individual. Remember, these professionals are very experienced. You need to have confidence in your case and your ability to communicate with them.