Innocence Defense in Georgia
We frequently hear from clients that they are innocent. So what does it mean to be innocent in the eyes of the court? Our firm will carefully walk you through the criminal justice process and help you understand the difference between not guilty, innocent, and actual innocence. If you have been charged with a crime or have already been convicted, we can help. Our attorneys have over 50 combined years of criminal defense experience. Let the attorneys at Lawson and Berry help you today!
Not Guilty vs. Innocence
The presumption of innocence - “innocent until proven guilty” - is an essential principle to the U.S. criminal law system. It places the burden of proof on the government to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of a crime. When there is not enough evidence to convict, a person is found “not guilty.”
However, this is not a finding of innocence because a person starts out innocent. This is known as legal innocence. A person could have still committed a crime despite being legally innocent of it. Basically, a court may have found a person innocent because there was not enough evidence to prove their guilt, even if they did commit the crime. A finding of not guilty can mean that the evidence was insufficient or that the evidence was improperly obtained or that the witnesses were not believable.
In sum, at the end of a criminal trial, judges and juries may find the defendant not guilty. This acquittal signifies that the prosecutor failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, not that the defendant is innocent. This rule serves to protect the accused from being convicted unjustly. It is much more difficult to prove actual innocence than to establish reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime.
Actual Innocence Defense in Georgia
Actual innocence is the concept that a person is truly innocent - that he or she did not commit the offense. This often comes up with people who have already been convicted. Whereas the accused is innocent until proven guilty, a convicted person is guilty until he or she can prove his or her innocence or the deprivation of a fundamental right. This might be one of the most difficult climbs to make in all of law. However, it can be done!
It is interesting because “a finding of actual innocence.. is not the equivalent of a finding of not guilty by a jury or by a court in a bench trial.” Lambert v. Blackwell, 134 F.3d 506, (1997).
How Can You Prove Innocence?
If your innocence is unable to be proven through investigation, our lawyers will use motions to defend your case, and if needed, will take your case to trial to prove your innocence! Many cases that have proven actual innocence involved DNA evidence that eliminated the accused or implicated another person. It could also include recantations of witness statements or confessions from the actual perpetrator. The claim of actual innocence could be based upon a constitutional error if gross mistakes were during the trial that prevented the presentation of evidence that could have proved the defendant's innocence. Some examples could include the suppression of evidence by the court, or the defense attorney's failure to discover a legitimate alibi that existed and present it at trial.
Have You Been Wrongfully Accused or Convicted of a Crime in Georgia?
If you have been accused of a crime - regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty- do not despair. Our experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers help clients get cases dismissed every day. We will help you resolve your case in the best possible way.
Even if you have already been convicted, we can help! Contact our office now, and we will begin prepping your case to prove your innocence. Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions. Contact us now.