Every criminal case that is brought in Michigan is unique. Even when two cases have the same charges, the underlying facts and the applicable law can be different. Therefore, there are some cases where raising doubt as to the defendant's guilt is relatively easy, while other cases are extremely difficult to refute the charges. Yet, even in these latter cases, having a strong criminal defense can be critical, as it may allow a defendant to avoid the harshest criminal charges and penalties.
Recently in Kalamazoo, a 50-year-old man was charged with several counts of second-degree murder after allegedly running his truck into a group of cyclists, killing five and injuring four others. At this time, there is no clear motive for the event, and toxicology reports are still pending. If the events alleged are true, then this man may be found guilty of a crime, but the exact crime he is found guilty of could have a huge impact on his future.
When a defendant is charged with committing a violent crime, the prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, in order to obtain a conviction for second-degree murder, the prosecution must prove that there was an intent to kill or a willful disregard for one's actions. If these elements can be challenged, then the defendant may be found innocent of these charges. However, they may then be charged with a lesser crime, at which time they can challenge those elements. These lesser crimes will carry the potential for lesser penalties, which means the defendant could prevent years of incarceration if they are found guilty.
There is a lot that goes into creating a legal strategy, and every case is different. To receive the individually tailored representation an individual deserves, they may want to reach out to a qualified legal professional.
Source: The Detroit Free Press, "Murder charges in cyclists' death, but no answer to what caused crash," Robert Allen, June 9, 2016