The job of a defense attorney, also known as a criminal defense lawyer, is to represent their client against accusations of criminal misconduct. A defense attorney is paid to win the best possible outcome for their client. Defense attorneys are excellent at analyzing criminal cases, including all evidence turned over by the prosecution. But sometimes an attorney may not have the time, resources, or expertise to complete a more in-depth investigation. Defense attorneys hire private investigators to uncover new evidence or provide expertise that will help to exonerate the accused.
Do Defense Attorneys Hire Private Investigators?
A defense attorney is obligated to work just as diligently in building a legal defense for their client as the prosecution team is at putting together the case against the accused. In most cases, a thorough defense requires more than just the evidence provided by the state. After all, the state’s evidence is what will be used to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A defense team often will require outside assistance from a private investigator who can help to find new witnesses and evidence to uncover reasonable doubt.
How Does a Private Investigator Help a Defense Attorney?
A private investigator can review all the discovery items from the prosecution for any inconsistencies or unanswered questions in police reports, collected evidence, photographs and videos, and recorded statements. A private investigator can go to the actual crime scene and recreate what was described by law enforcement, often uncovering new facts and details.
While an attorney reviews their client’s case, researches case law, and prepares their client for court, a private investigator can interview witnesses the police have overlooked and uncover new evidence to help exonerate the accused. Private investigators are skilled at locating hard to find people, such as witnesses who have moved or are otherwise unable to be located.
The Police Have Already Collected All the Evidence, Right?
Not everything that occurred involving a criminal accusation may have been recorded in the law enforcement report. Law enforcement officers are human beings with natural biases, just like anyone else. While training and experience can limit the effects, bias can sometimes creep into a law enforcement investigation. The police will often only collect evidence that shows their suspect to be guilty and ignore evidence that may contradict their theory of the crime.
To make an arrest, law enforcement only needs to prove probable cause that a crime was committed and the person to be arrested committed the offense. In many cases, once the threshold of probable cause has been reached, law enforcement will not investigate further. Information that runs contrary to what law enforcement investigators believe to be true may sometimes be outright ignored. This leaves a huge opportunity for a private investigator to uncover information that was overlooked by the police.
By law, the prosecutor is required to share with the defense all evidence and materials collected by the police. But a defense attorney can only work with whatever evidence was given over by the prosecution. A skilled private investigator can review a case and discover clues as to what evidence is missing and likely to be discovered. Even witnesses who were interviewed by the police can be re-interviewed to develop new leads.
The prosecution team is in the business of winning convictions, not necessarily a search for the truth. The most skilled defense attorney cannot win a case for their client without evidence to demonstrate reasonable doubt. This is why a private investigator is a critical component of a winning criminal defense team.
H7 Investigative Services conducts private investigations in Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley, and throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
If you want to find out how our agency can help with your criminal defense case, click through to our consultation request page or call us at (661)454-7513.