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3 rules the prosecution has to follow in any criminal case

Being charged with a crime can be terrifying. However, you need to take a deep breath and realize that not only are there a number of possible defenses available to you but the prosecution has some pretty strict rules to follow.

What rules?

First of all, the prosecution has to prove that you are guilty of the charges "beyond a reasonable doubt." That's a pretty stiff standard.

It's also what gives rise to the second rule, which is "you're only guilty of doing what the prosecution can prove you did."

That means that none of the evidence against you is a sure bet. Your criminal defense attorney will likely attack it all based on how it was procured or its validity. For example, if you're accused of drunk driving, your attorney may attack the scientific accuracy of the Breathalyzer test, the accuracy of the machine and the skill of the operator. He or she will also likely attack the validity of the reason used to stop and subject you to testing as well. If those attacks work, the evidence is out and the prosecution's task just got a lot harder.

The third rule the prosecution has to follow is this: "They cannot make you give up any information that can hurt you."

Believe it or not, that wasn't always the case. In the past, people were sometimes treated pretty brutally until they admitted to whatever crimes they were accused of doing -- just to end the abuse. That caused a lot of innocent people to get convicted.

You enjoy the right to remain silent, to clam up entirely and not give the police even the slightest piece of evidence that they can later use against you. Use that right. In fact, revel in it. It's one of the biggest things you have going for you in any criminal investigation. The only person you should ever discuss your case or the evidence against you with is your attorney. Anybody else is a risk you don't need to take.

Source: FindLaw, "Defending Yourself Against a Criminal Charge," accessed May 03, 2018

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