If there is no evidence, can you still be convicted or charged? 14 Answers as of May 07, 2012

My husband is being charged with first degree murder. He is innocent, there is no evidence, no weapon, no eye witness no DNA. Nothing. Can he still be convicted or charged?

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Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
Not the way you tell it but something tells me that hubby is not completely leveling with you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/7/2012
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
If he is charged with murder I suspect the DA and the police believe there is sufficient evidence to convict. That is why there are jury trials however and hopefully your husband has a good lawyer.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/7/2012
Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman
Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman | Brian K. Wanerman
The D.A. can charge anyone with anything. But, for a felony charge, he must be able to convince a magistrate at a preliminary hearing that there is sufficient evidence to hold the defendant to answer on the charges (i.e. warrant bringing him to trial). To be convicted, the prosecution would have to prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. That's what the law says on paper. In practice, I've seen defendants convicted on a lot less than that. If convicted, your husband is looking at a life sentence.I represent many lifers at their parole hearings. I assure you, incarceration in state prison is a fate your husband wants to avoid at all costs. He needs to fight this with every last resource at his disposal. I recommend he consult with a criminal defense attorney right away.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/7/2012
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
If the DA thinks that there is evidence to convict they will charge the suspect with the crime. If the DA wants to pressure a suspect into pleading to a lesser crime they can still charge the suspect with the crime. Without having the case go to court you cannot know what evidence the DA may have. If a person is convicted of a crime that depends on the facts presented in court, the attorney for the defense and the attorney for the state. Then it is up to the jury.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/4/2012
Law Offices of Phil Hache
Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
It is possible (although it shouldn't happen if there is no evidence what so ever). Contact a criminal defense attorney in your area to discuss further.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/4/2012
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    It is hard to imagine that the DA's office would charge a case that has no evidence - I'm sure there is a police report detailing the evidence and recommending prosecution. That said, he needs to get a good attorney and fight the case. The sooner you get an attorney working for you the better. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    No. But your idea of no evidence is probably not the same as the legal standard the courts use. He wouldn't even have been charged without some evidence. The police and prosecutors don't spend time and money arresting, charging and prosecuting cases without a reason to do so. If they arrest a person, they think they can convict him. He'll get a chance to fight and challenge this through motions, preliminary hearings and trial. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all appropriate defenses with whatever witnesses, evidence and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or for trial. Effective plea-bargaining, using those defenses, could possibly reduce the potential time and other penalties you face. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion program, charge reduction, or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2012
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter | Jared C. Winter
    I'm sorry to hear about the charges your husband is facing. To answer your question, it is impossible for someone to be convicted with "no evidence". However, I've found that many people don't fully understand what evidence actually is. Though I know absolutely nothing about your husband's case and I certainly sympathize with what you both are facing, I can say that it is highly unusual for someone to be arrested for a crime when there is "no evidence". What you need is an attorney to evaluate the evidence that the prosecution claims they have. Hiring private attorneys for murder cases is very unusual because they are very expensive to defend. If you can't afford an attorney, then the public defender will represent him. I wish you both the best of luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Of course. The DA isn't stupid. They won't file charges unless they have (or think they have) enough evidence to convict your husband beyond a reasonable doubt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2012
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law | Mark A. Broughton
    I have handled many, many murder cases. Your question is more difficult to answer than you might think. The short answer is that if there is truly no evidence to connect your husband with a murder (homicide victim), then he should not be charged and he cannot be convicted. But just because there may be no eyewitnesses, no weapon located, and no DNA does not mean that he cannot be charged and convicted. For example, if the cause of death is a gunshot wound, the manner of death will undoubtedly be determined to be a homicide. The DA will be able to put together enough other facts and circumstances to say it is a murder (intentional killing with malice). Typically, the police do an investigation that leads them to a suspect. They will question that suspect. I cannot tell you how many times, when that suspect gives a statement to the police, he/she ends up giving the police enough evidence to charge and convict him/her of murder. Sadly, in most cases, the accused gives a statement to the police. It is almost always his/her downfall. If you have read any of my past articles you will eventually see where I have advised strenuously against speaking to the police if you are suspected of being involved in the crime - any crime. In the vast majority of cases, you are going to incriminate yourself. I don't care how innocent you may be, or how smart you think you are, the cops are smarter at what they do. They will eventually get you to say something - something about which you may not be aware is incriminating - that will incriminate you. The best, and only thing to do, is to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. Even this will usually not deter the cops from trying to get you to voluntarily waive your rights; they are very shrewd, especially homicide detectives. So, in our scenario here, a victim of a fatal gunshot wound, and an accused incriminatory statement may be enough to charge and convict a person without any other evidence. Your husband really needs the assistance of a qualified criminal defense lawyer. If he is truly innocent, the more he needs one. If he gave a statement to the police, get one yesterday. I hate to tell you this, but if he was arrested and charged there is evidence, some evidence, believe me. I hope you and he take heed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2012
    Grant & Grant
    Grant & Grant | Richard L. Grant, Esq.
    He can be charged, but the State getting a Conviction charge is something totally different. There is a lot that can be done to attempt to establish reasonable doubt as to the pending criminal charges. The best course of action would be to hire a private experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly appears in the court where your husband's case is filed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2012
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    There is no way to answer this question. In order to be convicted, the DA must have proof beyond a reasonable doubt of your husband's guilt. If he's being charged, I can only assume the DA thinks they have enough. How strong is their case? I have no way of knowing without being able to see all the reports, investigation, interviews, etc. It goes without saying that your husband needs the best attorney he can get. If there is nothing there, that's his lawyer's job - to point it out and hopefully get this case dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    In my experience, there is always some evidence. If there were no evidence, the prosecution would have no information to link your husband to the crime(s). Ergo, there is something. It might be miniscule, but it is something. Hopefully he has an attorney. You might be well advised to ask the defense counsel what the basis for the allegation is.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2012
    Law Office of Buddy Clark | Buddy Clark, Esquire
    If what you say is true they could not even file on him!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2012
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