Criminal Defense investigations

Unlike civil cases, in which winning a case only requires establishing liability by a preponderance of the evidence, criminal law requires the prosecutor to establish guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt". Reasonable doubt is therefore the primary focus of any criminal defense investigation.

There are many ways to establish reasonable doubt in a criminal defense investigation. A few of them are:

  • Finding evidence that can challenge the physical evidence found at the crime scene.
  • Uncovering mistakes in the conduct of the investigation by the police.
  • Finding contradictions in the testimony of witnesses who have been improperly or inadequately interviewed by the prosecution.
  • Finding exculpatory evidence that has been withheld by the government.


Criminal attorneys need to be especially careful that they provide their clients with a rigorous defense. Recently, California courts have ruled that there is a duty for attorneys to use professional investigators in all types of criminal matters, from misdemeanors to capital cases. (To see attorney Robert Sanger's article on that subject, THE REQUIREMENT OF AN INVESTIGATOR IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PRACTICE please click here.)

Here is some of what we do for our clients in criminal cases:

  • We locate important but missing witnesses.
  • We vet witnesses by performing thorough background checks so our clients will know who they are dealing with and anticipate any credibility issues
  • We vet the other side's witnesses so our clients will know their vulnerabilities.
  • We conduct witness interviews. Our trained investigators know how to carefully elicit information.
  • We also assist in preparing witnesses for trial.


Criminal defense investigations, perhaps more than any other investigations, require extremely focused attention to detail and to the relationship between all aspects of the case. At Parrent Smith, we understand all facets of criminal defense investigations and bring our honed skills to bear on each and every case.

Please also see the following case studies:

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