9 Essential Actions You Must Take to Help Your Public Defender Get Your Case Dismissed

Gavel and LawBooksPublic defender offices are underfunded both absolutely and in comparison, to better-funded prosecutor offices.  Despite this, public defenders do the best job they can advocating for defendants who cannot afford private representation.

Research suggests that public defenders can be as effective as privately retained lawyers in terms of producing outcomes for defendants, if sufficiently staffed.

But, therein lies the problem. Public Defenders offices are not sufficiently staffed and therefore the defendants don’t always get proper legal representation.

As a defendant, taking proactive steps can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Here are nine crucial actions you should take as soon as possible:

  • Obtain a Copy of the Police Report: Use a public records request to get a copy of the police report. This document contains the officer’s narrative of the event and can be critical for your defense. Your Public Defender will wait and get the police report from the prosecutor. Waiting to get the police report is never a good thing.
  • Request Police Body Cam Footage: Similarly, request any available body cam footage. This visual evidence can corroborate your version of events or reveal procedural errors. The alleged victim will normally give their story to several police officers. All versions of their story are not equal. The sooner you analyze the police cam footage, the better.
  • Revise Your Police Statement: If necessary, rewrite your police statement for clarity and accuracy, ensuring it reflects your account correctly. You can get your Public Defender to submit this new evidence to the prosecutor for evaluation. This completed statement along with other documents and evidence could motivate the prosecutor to dismissed your case.
  • Gather Letters of Recommendation: Obtain 3 to 5 letters of recommendations from reputable sources who can vouch for your character and behavior. The prosecutor often will make a judgement call to deny prosecution and you could be free to go.
  • Enroll in an Anger Management Course: If applicable, start taking an anger management course to show your commitment to personal improvement. This is not an admission of guilt but another reason for the prosecutor to dismiss the case or reduce the charges.
  • Document Your Alibi: If you have an alibi, gather evidence and witness statements that support your whereabouts at the time of the alleged offense. As mentioned before, your Public Defender don’t have resources to investigate properly, so you must.
  • Compile Evidence of Community Ties: Evidence of strong community ties can be beneficial in persuading the prosecutor to dismiss the case or reduce the charges. This includes proof of employment, family responsibilities, volunteer work, or taking classes.
  • Prepare for Trial: Be mentally and physically prepared to go to trial. This means understanding the process and being ready for the emotional toll it may take. Your public defender just don’t have the time, but talk to someone who know how the system works and can help you get your mind together. This is a very stressful situation but being prepared makes a difference.
  • Communicate Openly with Your Defender: Maintain honest and open communication with your public defender. Provide them with all the information they need to represent you effectively. Keep in mind, your Public Defender may have over 100 clients just like you. Communicate via email so that everything is documented. Don’t waste his time.

Remember, these actions are not exhaustive but serve as a starting point. Your public defender can guide you on additional steps specific to your case. Be proactive; it’s your life and future at stake