Criminal Defense Investigations 101

Apr 1, 2022

When crafting a defense case, you may need to conduct criminal defense investigations to gather evidence to prove your client’s innocence. We can help.


What Is a Criminal Defense Investigation?


When someone is charged with a crime, they have the right to be defended in court by an attorney. The defense attorney’s job is to establish reasonable doubt on behalf of the defendant. They can do that by themselves or with the help of criminal defense investigators, who can provide the defense attorney with the facts they need to establish this doubt.

In other words, a criminal defense investigation is typically about finding holes and mistakes in the prosecution’s case as well as uncovering potential evidence and witnesses that will discredit their case or even provide an alibi for the accused individual.


Conducting Criminal Investigations


To fully understand your criminal case, the best lawyers will visit the scene of the alleged crime, touch the evidence, and interview witnesses. The map is not the territory. This is, a map is no substitute for actually visiting a place, a model car is no substitute for sitting in a car, and a written witness statement is no substitute for speaking with the witness. If a lawyer sits in his office relying on police reports to fight your case as opposed to gathering his own information, it will be too late at trial for him to realize that the police reports don’t tell the whole story.

A defense-initiated investigation (as opposed to merely relying on police reports) is critical to ensuring that you achieve the best outcome in your case. The defense-initiated investigation helps rebut the prosecution’s allegations, helps produce favorable evidence (e.g. evidence related to affirmative defenses like self-defense), and evidence in mitigation of sentencing. The best lawyer will then use this information to litigate pre-trial motions, prepare for trial, and negotiate with the prosecution.

Criminal defense lawyers have many investigative tools at their disposal. The list is endless, but it includes tools like subpoenas, ex parte subpoenas, open records requests, Brady motions, the skilled deployment of investigators, the sophisticated use of online search tools, and using expert assistance for issues like scene reenactment and DNA analysis. These tools are in addition to the meticulous review of the prosecution’s evidence.


When Will a Criminal Defense Investigator Start?

The best lawyer and criminal defense investigator will start investigating your case immediately. There is no need to wait for the prosecution to turn over discovery, though that’s an important step in the process. It’s important that your lawyer immediately and effectively begin investigating your case. Witness memories fade, agencies destroy documents, and internet companies scrub data, so a delay in investigating your case can negatively impact your ability to mount a vigorous defense.

While your lawyer shouldn’t wait to start investigating your case, your lawyer shouldn’t stop investigating your case before you’ve resolved your case. In many cases, the investigation continues up to and during the trial. New issues arise, the prosecution fails to turn over important discovery until the middle of trial, new witnesses come forward, or a million other things can happen and should happen that cause the investigation of your case to continue until the charges have been resolved or dismissed.


How Can We Help With Criminal Defense Investigations?


Everyone should be considered innocent until proven guilty. However, while that concept is good, when someone is charged with a crime, people tend to consider them guilty without considering all the evidence. The prosecution often does whatever it takes to prove their cases and get a conviction. Sometimes, an aggressive approach can result in an innocent person being wrongfully charged and convicted.

I have experience investigating the most serious cases in Georgia. I have traveled the country vigorously investigating major felony cases, going to any place necessary to locate witnesses, documents, photographs, or anything that might help me fight the prosecution’s allegations. If you need help with your criminal defense case, reach out for a consultation. 

Practice Area: Criminal Defense