Building a Defense in a DC Burglary

Burglary is seen as a very dangerous crime by the public, and burglary charges are prosecuted quite aggressively, so it is important that a burglary suspect know their rights. If you are facing burglary charges in Washington, DC, it is imperative to secure an experienced DC burglary lawyer who is capable of building the best possible defense for your case.

Preparing the Defendant for a Burglary Trial

The first step in building a defense in a DC burglary case is ensuring that the prosecutors in the case turn over every type of evidence and every piece of information they have, as the defendant is entitled to such knowledge under DC rules and laws. However, in Washington, DC, the discovery process—the process by which prosecutors turn over their evidence to the defense—is complicated by the fact that the defense has the obligation to request information in a very specific way. Thus, the first way in which a defense lawyer will prepare their client is by following the discovery process in order to gather as much information from the prosecutor as possible, and by reviewing all of that information with the client.

Once the defense is aware of the government’s evidence, the defense lawyer’s obligation is to get the assistance of the client in conducting a separate investigation. This investigation could include speaking to government witnesses or looking for any other witnesses who may be favorable to the defendant’s case. Such witnesses could possibly contradict government witnesses or provide entirely new information that could be helpful for the defendant.

A defense lawyer may also help their client prepare for trial by readying the defendant to testify, if they choose to do so, and by preparing them to be cross-examined by the prosecutors. This preparation helps to ensure that the defendant is ready for anything a prosecutor could throw at them, should they decide to take the stand in their own defense.

Constitutional Issues and DC Burglary Cases

Many constitutional issues can come up in a burglary case. Often, when police are investigating a burglary, they may have a suspect in mind that they then attempt to question in order to be able to extract a confession or admission out of that individual. In some circumstances, this interrogation of suspects could be a violation of the suspect’s constitutional right to not incriminate themselves.

If a police officer has placed a suspect into custody and then attempts to interrogate that suspect, the officer is required to inform the suspect of their constitutional right to have a lawyer present during questioning, as well as the constitutional right not to answer questions at all. This is typically referred to as a Miranda warning.

If the officer does not convey these rights and does not secure a knowing, voluntary waiver of these rights from the suspect before the interrogation, then any responses to questioning by the suspect could be suppressed from evidence. Such suppressed evidence is, essentially, thrown out as a result of the violation of the suspect’s constitutional right to remain silent.

Another constitutional issue that sometimes comes up in burglary cases involves unconstitutional searches. If the police have a suspect in mind and want to conduct a search of that suspect’s body, car, or house, then, in many circumstances, the police must first obtain a search warrant before conducting that search. The police will very often try to find ways around having to get a search warrant in order to conduct searches without having to get prior approval by a judge.

However, if the police do not conduct a search consistent with either a search warrant or one of the few exceptions to the requirement to secure a warrant, then a defense lawyer could possibly challenge the search as violation of the suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights.

What to Look For in a DC Burglary Attorney

One of the most important things an individual should look for in a criminal defense attorney or a law firm when facing burglary charges is an understanding of not only the legal issues behind the charges, but also the constitutional issues behind searches and involuntary statements.

Additionally, it is also important for a person to have a lawyer who is a partner in their client’s defense. Securing a defense attorney who works with their clients to keep them informed and who acts as both an advocate and a team member in presenting and developing a strong defense is one of the most important things a defendant can do to challenge the government’s case and to ultimately get the most favorable result possible.