Those who have been accused of a crime are aware of how challenging and unpleasant the process can be. There will probably be a lot of queries on the defense of criminal charges and what to anticipate. Frequently, a defendant can feel more at ease after learning the answers to those questions in particular.
Your record and reputation may suffer greatly if you are found guilty of a crime. You could be sentenced to hefty fines and possibly lengthy prison terms, depending on the charge and type of conviction. It may also lead to job loss or difficulty finding employment.
The types of defenses you have open may be one of your first inquiries after being accused of a crime. In this situation, you must be aware of your legal options under criminal law. It is advantageous to hire a criminal lawyer because they have the experience and expertise to fight a criminal charge. After all, the criminal justice system is complicated to understand. Criminal charges include DUI, assault, theft, and crimes that can result in extremely long prison sentences.
Criminal defenses come in a wide variety of forms. You can learn more about your rights and options—including which defenses are accessible and appropriate in your case—by consulting a federal criminal appeals lawyer.
Let’s take a look at the various ways of defending criminal charges.
- Innocence defense
The notion that you are innocent until proven guilty is one of the defining characteristics of the American judicial system. The claim of innocence is one of the easiest defenses against criminal conduct. When you deny guilt for the crime, you invoke this defense.
Always keep in mind that the prosecution must establish every element of the crime that has been brought against you. The judge and jury must presume your innocence until proven guilty. Therefore, this is not just an ideal but a real legal presumption. Because of this, a defendant can “plead the fifth,” keep quiet and present no proof to back up their innocence and yet win. It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to establish guilt, not the duty of the defendant to establish innocence.
When someone is accused of perpetrating physical violence (assault, battery, etc.), they frequently use this defense. The defendant turns the narrative on its head by proving that, rather than being the aggressor, he or she was actually the victim and had taken protective measures to avoid harm.
Self-defense is a long-standing legal defense based on the idea that people have a right to protect themselves from bodily harm and is used in most legal systems today. As a defendant typically needs to prove that self-defense was required, the belief of physical harm and the response were reasonable, proving such a defense can be challenging. For instance, shooting someone who threatens to hit you in the face would almost be inappropriate.
- Insanity defense
The insanity defense, which you might hear about regularly in television courtroom dramas, isn’t employed often for several reasons. The first is the insanity defense- an affirmative defense that calls for the defendant to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that they were dealing with a severe mental illness or condition when the offense was committed.
The defense of insanity asserts that the offender was either unable to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the crime or that the offender had an “irresistible impulse” to commit a crime, which means that the offender knew what they were doing was wrong but was unable to stop doing it.
The second reason insanity defense is rarely used as a defense is that it requires the accused to admit both that the act was committed and that they were the ones who committed it. If the jury returns a verdict that does not find the defendant mad, they have conceded far too many facts in the defendant’s favor. They have likely given the prosecution a very easy victory. The fact that a successful insanity defense typically leads to institutionalization is another reason why insanity defenses are used less frequently than you might assume.
- Duress defense
When someone threatens to use violence or force against you to persuade you to act contrary to your better judgment, you can invoke this defense. In essence, it denotes that you were forced to commit a crime. For instance, the Mafia uses compulsion to trap people in their illicit activities by threatening to hurt them or their families, a central theme in many Hollywood films about organized crime groups. These kinds of circumstances offer the possibility of a duress or coercion defense.
- Involuntary intoxication defense
Lack of intent is defended by involuntary intoxication. This defense would eliminate the element of intent in most crimes if the defendant was intoxicated and unaware of what they were doing.
- Alabi defense
Evidence that a defendant was elsewhere when the crime was committed serves as the basis for an alibi defense. An acceptable legal defense is an alibi. Nonetheless, the phrase may evoke a phony defense for some people. Defense lawyers typically remind juries that an alibi is simply a legal phrase referring to proof that a defendant was elsewhere else at the time of a crime and do not imply untruth.
- Entrapment Defense
When a law enforcement officer tricks you into committing a crime, you can use the entrapment argument. Drug sales or prostitution stings are frequent examples of this. According to the argument, the government shouldn’t be able to pressure you into committing a crime so that it may later punish you for it.
Yet, this defense will fail if the judge or jury decides you were predisposed to doing the crime. Hence, an entrapment defense is unlikely to succeed if you have a history of drug use, even if an undercover cop offers to sell you illegal narcotics.
Is it possible to avoid committing a crime by being too intoxicated or high? The answer is, perhaps. If the drunk individual didn’t choose to get drunk, such as if they ate something at a party that they didn’t understand was “laced” or drugged with a narcotic or their drink was “spiked”.