In a criminal defense situation, the primary goal of the defense is to create reasonable doubt. In cases where medical evidence exists, the job of the criminal defense attorney is to find ways of using such evidence to create reasonable doubt. What follows are five tips that your criminal defense lawyer can rely on to exploit your own medical records in support of your criminal defense.
Constitutional law requirements mandate the disclosure of any evidence the prosecution has that supports your defense. In a criminal case where medical evidence is used to seek a conviction, prosecuting attorneys may not use your medical records without also sharing them with your defense team. Be advised that in some jurisdictions, the law requires that your attorney send in a discovery request before disclosure can be made.
DNA Evidence and Profiling
Saliva, chewing gum, slender strands of hair and seemingly inconsequential bits of detritus such as cigarette butts left behind at the scene can all end up bearing silent witness for or against you in court. DNA evidence is very powerful in the eyes of juries as it is portrayed on TV as a genetic fingerprint. Your DNA is an important part of your medical records and can be used by science to exclude you as a suspect during the DNA profiling process. If you are highly confident that there can be no possible link you to and a specific crime, then it is in your best interest to fully cooperate in the process of gathering DNA evidence. If you are less than 100 percent confident, then you need to speak to your lawyer at the earliest possible opportunity.
A Chemical Blood Test Can be Part of Your Medical Records
If a police officer pulls you over because he suspects that you have been drinking, you may be asked to take a field sobriety test. Such tests are subjective and unscientific. Despite this, the police officer can use the results as probable cause to arrest you. According to the legal professionals from the Sessions Law Firm, LLC, an Alpharetta DUI Lawyer, any exculpatory results of a formal chemical blood test related to your arrest are actually part of your personal medical records. For this reason, your defense lawyer can use them in court to clear you of DUI charges that you are not guilty of.
Medical evidence can be very powerful and highly influential in court. Unfortunately, few lawyers have the medical training needed to interpret medical records at a professional level. Also, you can never be assured that the information in your medical records contains conclusive proof of anything. For all of these reasons, your attorney may need to call in or hire an expert witness (consulting expert) to help him interpret all of the information in your medical records.
The Appeal Process
Medical evidence takes many forms. It can consist of doctor’s notes and records, diagnostic testing results, emergency room admittance records, and the many forms and prescriptions a doctor fills out. Medical evidence is also important in the legal appeal process. If you lose in trial court, you are entitled to appeal your decision to a federal court of appeals. What this means is that you may be able to have your conviction overturned during the appeal process, or you may have your sentence amended. When your lawyer is preparing your case, he is really working on two cases at once; your pending trial, and your possible future appeal. No criminal conviction is final until after you have exhausted all of your appeals.
It doesn’t matter if your case ends up being the crime of the century or just a footnote in the local police blotter. As a citizen, you are entitled to the same Constitutional protections our most famous celebrity defendants enjoy. If the facts of your case warrant, you should be allowed to access your own medical records and use them in court to prove your case. If you ever find yourself charged with a crime, the wise thing to do is speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as humanly possible.