Last week’s blog post introduced readers to the idea of mens rea, or the mental state that must be shown by a prosecutor in some cases in order to obtain a conviction. Though not all offenses require the prosecutor to show the appropriate mens rea, many do. This can be a hotly contested area during the course of plea negotiations or a trial and should be dealt with aggressively, as failure to do so could lead to a conviction and serious penalties.
Nearly every aspect of a criminal case may benefit from strong legal representation. Competent, diligent, and educated attorneys know what prosecutors must show and the burden of proof they must clear. With this knowledge, criminal defense teams, like the one at the Law Office of Thomas A. Johnson, can tailor a legal strategy that addresses a defendant’s particular needs. This often includes addressing mens rea and trying to show that a criminal defendant’s acts were not willful or intentional.
Showing intent is often difficult for a prosecutorial team. By utilizing physical evidence, witness testimony, and, in some instances, the defendant’s own account, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to raise doubt as to the defendant’s mental state. This is crucial to a criminal defense strategy because a lack of intent could lead to lesser charges with less severe penalties or even an acquittal.
It can be terrifying to face federal charges. Convictions for federal crimes often carry years of imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines. Though scary, if you are facing such allegations you should do everything you can to put your best foot forward. This means assessing your legal strategies and contemplating how you can raise doubt as to your guilt.