Common Defenses That A Good Attorney Can Raise To Defend Against Criminal Charges.
In order to convict a defendant, the prosecutor/government must prove a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A defendant is given an opportunity to present his or her defense. There are numerous kinds of defenses, from "I did not do it" to "I did it, but I was way too drunk to know I was doing it." Here is a list of some of the most common defenses a defendant can raise.
1. The Defendant Did Not Do It
The Presumption Of Innocence
A person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent until he or she is convicted, either by a jury or as a result of a guilty plea. This presumption forces the prosecutor/government to convince the jury of a defendant's guilt. A defendant need not say or do anything in his own defense. A defendant can merely remain silent, not present any witnesses, and with the right attorney argue that the prosecutor failed to prove the case. If, in fact, the prosecutor cannot convince the jury that the defendant did it beyond a reasonable doubt the jury must find the defendant not guilty.
What Is Reasonable Doubt?
The prosecutor/government must convince the jury that the defendant's guilt is "beyond a reasonable doubt." This is a heavy burden of proof. It means that jurors are to contemplate that all reasonable doubts about the defendant's guilt are in favor of the defendant's innocence. With such a high standard imposed on the prosecutor, a defendant's most common defense is to argue that reasonable doubt of guilt exists and therefore the jury must acquit.
What Is An Alibi?
An alibi is evidence that a defendant was somewhere other than the scene of the crime at the time the crime was committed.
2. The Defendant Did It, But...
This defense allows a defendant to avoid guilt even if the prosecutor shows that the defendant did the crime. Here are some examples:
Self-defense is frequently asserted by someone who is charged with a crime of violence, like battery, assault with a deadly weapon, or even manslaughter and murder. In using self-defense, a defendant admits that he or she did in fact commit the crime, but that it was justified by the other person's threatening actions. The basic questions in a self-defense case are:
Who was the initial aggressor?
Did the defendant believe that self-defense was necessary? Was that belief reasonable based on the circumstances? If so, was the force used by the defendant reasonable? Self-defense is rooted in the belief that a person is allowed to protect him or herself from physical harm. This means that a person does not have to wait until he or she is actually harmed to act in self-defense. If a reasonable person in the same circumstances would think that he or she is about to be physically attacked, that reasonable person has the right to prevent the attack with reasonable force. What is reasonable force? An act of self-defense cannot use more force than is necessary to avoid the perceived harm. Someone who uses too much force may be guilty of a crime.
What Is The Insanity Defense?
It is important to note that the insanity defense is an extremely complex topic and cannot be fully addressed in one paragraph.
In a nutshell, the insanity defense is rooted in the belief that punishment is justified only if the defendant is capable of controlling his or her behavior and understands that what he or she has done is wrong. People suffering from a mental disorder may not be capable of knowing or choosing right from wrong. Therefore, the insanity defense may prevent them from being punished criminally.
What Is The Entrapment Defense?
Entrapment occurs when the government/police officer induces or convinces a person to commit a crime and then tries to punish that person for committing it. When asserting an entrapment defense, the prosecutor will try to persuade the jury to believe that the suspect was predisposed to commit the crime anyway. If the jury believes the prosecutor, the suspect may be found guilty even if a government/police helped the defendant to commit the crime. An entrapment defense is especially difficult for defendants with prior convictions for the same type of crime and almost always requires the assistance of a competent counsel.
Time Is Ticking Away 4-3-2-1-0
The more time that goes by in a criminal case without protection from a qualified attorney, the harder it may be to secure the best possible results. Don't wait. Contact us today at 702-432-1000. We offer free consultations. Hablamos español.