Five Defense Steps

In order to build a strong defense in a criminal case, there are certain specific things that an experienced St. Johns County criminal lawyer will do. This article outlines and describes these actions.


Criminal charges range in severity from driving under the influence, assaulting another person with or without a weapon, sexual misconduct, breaking and entering, theft, fraud to homicide or premeditated murder. Regardless of the charges against you, the course pursued by a skilled St. Johns County criminal attorney will generally follow a standard pattern. The attorney will first secure your release on bail if applicable, then begin to evaluate the case against you in order to build your defense.

Release On Bail

Essentially, when the court releases a defendant on bail, it is with the understanding that the defendant presents no risk to the public at large and that he or she will be present at any assigned hearings at the appointed times. It is further understood that the defendant will not attempt to run away. Bonds are set depending upon the severity of the charges and according to the applicable statutes. The terms can be altered if it is determined that the original amount set is unreasonable, causing significant hardship, jeopardizing your earning potential or putting your health at risk. If any of those conditions can be brought forward on your behalf, the court may be willing to make allowances or alterations.


You have the right to know the charges against you, and the opposition must forward all materials pertinent to those charges to your legal counsel. This includes any and all physical, photographic, medical or other evidence, results of blood-alcohol tests, accounts provided by anyone who saw the incident and reports or accounts from law enforcement officers. The prosecution is also required to forward any evidence that indicates your innocence. If there is photographic evidence that shows that you were not involved in the incident or not engaged in any wrongdoing, it must be forwarded to you and your attorney as well.

Starting the Paperwork

All of the above information must be brought to the attention of the court. This is done through pre-trial motions. The motions filed may entitle you to specific types of hearings especially if you were tricked or forced into making statements you did not intend or wish to make. Given such circumstances, the court may order those statements suppressed or may take other actions.

Final Meeting Before Trial

At this point you, your legal defense counsel and counsel for the opposition will hold a pre-trial conference to decide on the next steps. The decision will be made either to proceed to trial, have the charges against you dismissed or possibly reduced via plea-bargaining to one of lesser gravity. Thorough preparation on your part and that of your attorney could make the difference between success and failure at this point.

Make Your Call Now

Don’t take a chance on being unprepared for what might happen. If you are facing charges, contact your St. Johns County criminal lawyer by calling the Attorneys at Canan Law at 904-824-9402 without delay.

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