Bars to Conviction

William Moore Criminal Attorneys in Broward Article: Procedural Bars to Conviction

William Moore Criminal Attorneys in Broward know that the term defense can be used in a generic sense to encompass anything that might preclude a finding of guilt. It is necessary, however, to distinguish among the common defenses, which are procedural bars to conviction and case-in-chief defenses.

Procedural bars to conviction resolve the case without a determination of factual guilt or innocence. The procedural bars include claims that the court lacks jurisdiction or venue over the case; the statute of limitations has run; the appropriate time for a "speedy trial" has expired; or the prohibition of double jeopardy applies because the defendant has previously been tried for the same charge. If properly established, these claims decide the case prior to receiving any evidence of the defendant's guilt or innocence. For example, as any Criminal Defense Attorney will tell you, Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b) provides that "any defense...which is capable of determination without the trial of the general issue may be raised before trial by motion."

William Moore Criminal Attorneys in Broward understand that once the trial court moves beyond procedural considerations, the next step is to address the merits of the case.

Durring this phase, the defendant, by and through their criminal defense attorney may enter a plea of not guilty, which is a defense in the most general sense of the word. The plea is a defense to the extent that it is an assertion of the presumption of innocence and places the burden on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The plea, however, does not raise a specific excuse or justification to which the prosecution must respond, rather simply holds them to the very heavy burden of proving the case according to the laws that we all share.

Remember, a defendant who pleads not guilty by and through his or her Criminal Attorneys in Broward may take a more aggressive stance by offering a factual denial, such as alibi. An alibi is a claim that the defendant was not in a position to commit the crime charged. Any Criminal Defense Attorney will tell you that the alibi defense, however, is merely another way of calling upon the prosecution to prove its case according to attorney William Moore.