Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A. South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney | Over 25 Years Experience
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5 police mistakes that may help your criminal defense

If a prosecutor has charged you with a crime, your very existence may be in jeopardy. After all, depending on the offense, you could lose your job, freedom, civic rights or even your life. Whether you are guilty or innocent of the charges, you must fight aggressively to defend yourself. 

Defense attorneys use a variety of techniques to clear their clients’ names. Sometimes, though, lawyers receive a gift from law enforcement personnel. That is, if officers do not follow procedures, you may be able to use their mistakes to your advantage. Here are five common police errors that may help your criminal defense. 

1. Improper searches 

Generally, police officers must have either probable cause or consent to conduct a search of you or your property. Accordingly, investigators often must obtain a warrant before beginning their search. If officers ignore warrant requirements, you may be able to ask a judge to disregard anything they find. 

2. Chain-of-custody problems 

Police detectives routinely gather evidence during investigations. Procedural rules specifically address how officers must handle the evidence they find. If officers deviate from these procedures, you may be able to argue that prosecutors should not use affected evidence against you to secure a conviction. 

3. Warning deficiencies 

When officers detain you, they must advise you of your rights. During this advisement, someone must tell you the following four things: 

  1.         You have the right to remain silent.
  2.         Prosecutors may use any statements you make against you.
  3.         You have the right to speak with a lawyer.
  4.         If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, a judge will appoint one to advise you. 

If officers fail to notify you of your basic rights, a judge may prohibit them from using the information they elicit against you in court. 

4. Sloppy reports 

Police officers receive extensive training on how to investigate crime scenes and write official reports. If officers fail to adequately document the incident, you may be able to poke holes through their conclusions. 

5. Excessive force 

As you probably know, police officers regularly must use force to stop criminal activity or detain suspects. When officers use force, though, they must do so reasonably. Because excessive force can taint an investigation, you may be able to argue officers applied too much force when detaining or questioning you. 

While officers often follow procedures when investigating crimes, they routinely make mistakes. Nonetheless, regulations require officers to play by the rules. If they do not, you may be able to use police misconduct to bolster your criminal defense. 

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