8 Types of Defense Strategies for Your Criminal Case
Facing criminal charges can change your life forever. While the stress you experience in these situations can seem overwhelming, it is imperative to remember that (1) you are innocent until proven guilty, (2) you may have various viable defense options in your case, and (3) hiring an experiencing criminal defense lawyer can help you develop the most effective defense strategy possible.
Attorneys can use various arguments to protect your rights and to make the prosecution prove its case. Whether it’s during the pre-trial face or presented to the jury, these defenses can be raised at several points on the timeline of a case.
There are defenses when the defendant claims that the facts alleged by the prosecutor are incorrect or untrue. By contrast, there are affirmative defenses, which admit the factual allegations but excuse the defendant’s conduct that would otherwise be unlawful.
I Didn’t Do It
If you did not commit the alleged act in question, you may use the following three types of defenses:
- Presumption of innocence – As we mentioned before, you are innocent until proven guilty. This presumption means that the prosecution must convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt, rather than the defendant having to prove innocence.
- Reasonable doubt – The prosecution must convince the fact-finder of the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” meaning that the jury needs to have a moral certainty that the defendant is guilty. Since the prosecution must have a high burden of proof, defense lawyers typically argue that thinking the defendant committed the offense isn’t enough for a conviction.
- Alibi – Evidence that the defendant was somewhere else, and not near the scene of the crime, at the time of the crime can be used in an alibi defense.
I Did It, But…
The following are five of the most common affirmative defenses:
- Self-defense – This defense is generally used in charges of assault or homicide. The defendant claims to have assaulted or killed, the plaintiff because the plaintiff attacked the defendant. In cases where the defendant actually killed the attacker, the court must establish that the attacker would have otherwise killed the defendant, and the defendant could have otherwise avoided his or her own death. In any case, the attack by the defendant could not have been more than what was necessary to prevent the attack of the original aggressor.
- Coercion and duress – These arguments basically establish that the defendant was forced to commit a crime because he or she were threatened with unlawful force. Keep in mind, this unlawful force does not have to actually occur, so merely the threat of unlawful force can be enough to satisfy the coercion defense. Additionally, the force or threat does not have to be threatened against the defendant. Instead, it could have been used against or threatened against another individual, such as a spouse or family member.
- Under the influence – Defendants who commit criminal offenses while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs sometimes argue that their mental faculties were so impaired that they cannot be held responsible for their actions. Although being under the influence won’t necessarily clear you of most crimes, it can in some situations negate an element of a crime. For example, if the defendant is accused of committing a crime that requires “specific intent,” he or she can argue that he or she was too drunk or high to have formed that intent.
- Entrapment – This occurs when the government or law enforcement induces an individual to commit a crime that he or she wouldn’t have otherwise committed. An official may have convinced or deceived the defendant into thinking that what they were doing was not unlawful, or was necessary for justice, science or another legitimate field. However, entrapment is typically difficult to prove since officers can provide opportunities for defendants to commit crimes without committing entrapment.
- Insanity – The insanity defense is typically based on the principle that punishment is justified only where defendants are capable of controlling their behavior and understanding that what they’ve done is wrong. The insanity defense prevents some individuals who can’t function fully from being criminal punished.
If you face criminal charges in Texas, contact our McKinney criminal defense attorney at The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. today. With nearly two decades of experience and more than 200 acquittals, our legal team can help you obtain the most favorable outcome possible in your criminal case.