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Being Charged with a Crime: Can They Do It Without Evidence and Without Me Knowing?
In that case, the best course of action is to find out what exactly a criminal defense lawyer does and if a criminal attorney can help you out with your case. But, before trying to find a good, but affordable criminal attorney in San Diego, let’s see what you can do if charged with a crime.
Can you be charged without evidence?
There are some rare instances of individuals being charged with a crime without evidence, but it is an extremely rare occasion when it comes to the California Department of Justice. The police need to have probable cause in order to be able to charge a person with a crime.
Probable cause represents reasonable grounds that leads a police officer to believe an individual is guilty of committing a crime. Probable cause is also necessary for any search to transpire.
However, sometimes individuals misunderstand what constitutes evidence, and they focus on physical evidence alone, neglecting or being unaware of all the other categories of evidence. We need to shed some light on that matter as well.
What are the different categories of evidence?
When it comes to evidence, individuals mostly focus on physical evidence, neglecting all other types of it. In reality, there are other ways for the police to develop probable cause through different types of evidence.
- Physical evidence – Physical evidence certainly is what most people think of when they hear the word. It represents any physical items that link an individual to a crime, including injuries, weapons, drugs, etc.
- Confessions – Confessions include a self-incriminating statement you may have made to the police while being charged with a crime, hence the “you have the right to remain silent” procedure.
- Witness testimonies – If a person saw you committing a crime, his or her testimony is also considered ample evidence for probable cause.
- Chemical evidence – Chemical evidence is similar to physical evidence, and they almost fall into the same category. However, chemical evidence is rarely seen with the naked eye, and demands a detailed chemical analysis to be found.
- Electronic evidence – Any text messages, computer files, emails, etc. can be used as incriminating material against you, especially when it comes to computer and cyber crime.
- Circumstantial evidence – Circumstantial evidence represents any evidence that is able to place you at the scene of the crime, at the time of the crime, including witness testimonies, fingerprints, shoe prints, etc.
How long do police have to charge you with a crime?
Before commenting on how long you can be held in custody before being charged with a crime in the state of California, let’s see when the police can arrest you for a crime they presume you’ve committed.
When it comes to arresting you, there are several occurrences of the police having legal right to arrest you:
- They have reasonable grounds to believe that you were the person guilty of the crime.
- They possess a warrant.
- They saw you commit a breach of peace, e.g. acting violently.
There are some other instances when you can be arrested, like breaching the conditions of your bail, or they have instructions to serve and AVO – an Apprehended Violence Order, but the above mentioned ones are the most common.
Now, if the police do arrest you, the timeframe of them having the ability to charge you with a crime differs from state to state, but is mostly a 48-hour period. And it’s not the police that raises charges but the prosecutor.
However, we have to note that the 48-hour time period refers only to the amount of time the police can hold a person in custody. A prosecutor can bring charges later on, at any given time, and is restricted only by the statute of limitations, which proscribes a time window for a person to be charged with a particular crime.
Can you be charged with a crime without knowing?
If you’re charged with a crime, you’ll know about it, sooner or later. Mistakes do happen, and mistakes can happen, but it is rare to nonexistent for a person to be charged with a crime and not know it.
There are many procedures that need to take place in the process of charging a person with a crime, from raising charges, arresting a person or performing citation, to legally prosecuting a person in front of the court of law. It is virtually impossible for mistakes to be made all along the way.
However, sometimes people employ the defense of claiming they had no idea they had committed a crime, or that they did not fully understand the law in relation to their proposed crime. This is rarely a sound defense, and you should definitely consider hiring a good criminal defense attorney.
“Where can I hire the best criminal defense lawyer in San Diego?”
If you’re in need of legal representation or legal counsel, Vik Monder of the Monder Criminal Lawyer Group is the best of the best. He is a successful yet affordable criminal attorney in San Diego. He’ll be able to advise you, help you, and do everything in his power to free you of the charges. If you’re too stressed about your case to enjoy the San Diego Natural History Museum, come to our offices and we’ll see what we can do for you!