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Evidence in DC Theft Cases

When preparing for trial in a DC theft case, there are many elements that need to be accounted for. One of the most crucial elements is gathering the evidence. It is important for an individual to know what sort of evidence can be used both for and against them in their DC theft case, which can often be difficult to obtain and understand. If you have found yourself facing a theft charge in DC, it is very important to contact an experienced attorney immediately. The proper lawyer can assist by understanding and utilize all the evidence in your case in order to produce the best outcome possible.

Preparation for Trial

A case will go to trial when the government believes they have enough evidence to proceed, there is no basis to have the case dismissed prior to trial, nor has any agreement to have a disposition short of trial been reached. A good defense attorney makes sure that his or her client is prepared by explaining the strategy and how the trial is anticipated to unfold, particularly if the client might be testifying. There is extensive preparation done to make sure that the client has enough comfort and confidence in the process, and has practiced with their lawyer so that they can make an informed decision about the best way to proceed.

Refuting Evidence

Every case is different with regard to the facts. There are commonalities in every case in the sense of constitutional protections. For example, with a theft case, the law defining theft in the District of Columbia documents the constitutional protections. However, the facts of every case are different, and it is absolutely critical that the defense attorney completely understands the facts of the case from both the government’s and the defendant’s perspective.

To refute evidence in a DC theft case, the attorney will look for issues that call into question the credibility of the government’s evidence. They present evidence from the defense’s standpoint that can directly refute a factual allegation from the government, or can explain the defense theory of the case that diminishes the effectiveness of the government’s case. That might entail presenting an eyewitness who can challenge the allegations against the client, presenting documents that show that the government’s theory is inaccurate, or the client testifying on his or her own behalf. These strategies change on a case-by-case basis. In every DC theft case, the attorney must have a complete understanding of the evidence, and do everything possible to show that there is a lack of credibility in the government’s proof.

Analyzing Forensic Evidence

The attorney will want to analyze any forensic evidence available in a DC theft case, and oftentimes seeks the assistance of expert witnesses for testimony on DNA evidence, fingerprint evidence, or things of that nature. Initially, the attorney analyzes the evidence to determine if it was acquired properly, stored properly, and tested properly. Simply taking and analyzing evidence and drawing a conclusion does not mean everything was done according to the correct scientific procedures.

Even though the government’s witness says everything was done properly, that may not necessarily be the case. The attorney will look for any areas to challenge the government’s process, such as the collection and the storage of the evidence, or anything that can call into question the credibility or viability of the evidence. If possible, the attorney will have the evidence excluded from the case.

Depending on the specific issue, this sometimes involves the hiring of expert witnesses by the defense. An attorney can dispute the qualifications of the government witnesses to handle that evidence. They can ask questions such as:

  • Are the witnesses properly certified?
  • Have they even been properly trained?
  • Did they follow the correct procedures?

The attorney examines every individual witness’s qualifications, credentials, and history to identify whether there are any doubts as to the reliability of the government’s forensic theft evidence.

Eyewitness Testimony

Eyewitness testimony can sometimes be inaccurate or unreliable. A defense attorney challenges any such testimony and evidence in a DC theft case by focusing on things such as whether a witness had any prior contact or prior knowledge of the defendant. The attorney determines if there is any reason the witness might have a bias toward the defendant. They will do this by asking questions like:

  • How far away was the witness when viewing the defendant or of the actions in question?
  • How long was the witness watching the event?
  • How long was the event from the date of the testimony or the reporting and interview with the police?
  • Was it at night or during the day?
  • Were there other people around?

There are many factual questions that can call into question the reliability of an eyewitness statement.

Document-Based Evidence

Document-based evidence in a DC theft case can call into question the government’s evidence or theory of a case. For example, in a theft case, the government claims the person was located with a large amount of cash on them that corresponds to an amount of cash stolen from a specific place. Documentary evidence showing the amount of money in the person’s bank account, along with the time and date of the ATM transaction or paychecks can refute or call into question the government’s evidence or theory of the case. There are many times where there may be documentary history or documentary evidence in a DC theft case can disprove allegations by the government, their witnesses, or their theory.

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