A District Attorney (DA) is the prosecuting officer of a criminal case (i.e., the official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses). The DA's job is to make the strongest case possible against a criminal defendant in court or to seek resolution of a criminal case before trial through a plea bargain.
It's risky to contact the DA's office, after all, they're the ones prosecuting the case against you. However, you may want to communicate with their office in order to negotiate a resolution of your case before trial and possibly obtain a plea agreement. This could result in reduced charges against you, a dismissal of certain charges, or a reduced sentence.
Communicating with the Prosecution
If you start talking with the prosecution, any subsequent negotiations will likely involve discussions about the evidence and facts in your case. This is where it can get risky because you could inadvertently reveal sensitive information about your case or even make damaging admissions that the prosecution could use against you later at trial.
Since most people are not familiar with the evidence gathering and trial process, it would be hard to know what information should be communicated and the right time to do so. Also, people are not always familiar with the background of a prosecutor or with the policies and goals of a prosecutor's office, as some offices may view certain crimes differently which can therefore impact whether they will negotiate with you about your case.
Elements of a Crime and the Burden of Proof
Many people who are not trained in the law also may not fully understand how to determine the elements of a crime. This is critical because the prosecution has the burden to prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction. Failure to do so means you cannot be convicted. Knowledge of the prosecution's burden as well as an understanding of the evidence in your case is what can sometimes provide you with leverage during any plea negotiations.
Before taking any steps to communicate with the prosecutor's office, however, it's critical to have a thorough evaluation of your case, including all of the evidence in the record, with an expert in criminal law. Often times, certain evidence or the lack of evidence can be used to strengthen your position when negotiating with the prosecution. A case evaluation can also help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution's case and shape an initial defense strategy.
Below are links to some DAs by county in Minnesota. To suggest a resource for this page, please e-mail us.
Speak with an Attorney Before Contacting the District Attorney
Facing criminal charges can be a trying time for you and your family. It's especially unnerving to know that there is a team of prosecutors who are working very hard to make a case against you. The good news is that you don't have to go through this alone. There are many experienced criminal defense attorneys who can help you make your case and, if necessary, negotiate with the prosecution. Reach out to a local criminal defense attorney today to discuss your case and learn about your options moving forward.