A criminal defense answers the charges faced in court by a defendant—someone accused of committing a crime. It involves defending the accused’s legal rights and using facts, procedures, or laws to lessen or dismiss their possible punishment.
In a criminal case, the defense must attempt to dispute the charges issued by the prosecution. For an attorney to protect their client’s rights in court, they may use one or more strategies as part of their defense. These strategies can vary from using alibis to establish an accused’s innocence to disproving pieces of evidence. The key is to show reasonable doubt for the court to favor the defendant.
Self-defense is a strategy that can also be used in cases where a person appears to act in response to an immediate threat against themselves or someone else. In some cases, an insanity plea can be made.
Read on for practical tips and insights from Sexner & Associates LLC experts on how the following common defenses may be used against a criminal case.
Insanity defense is a legal strategy used in criminal cases to avoid potential convictions. This defense claims that the accused individual could not understand their actions at the time of the crime due to mental illness. Therefore, the court should not hold them accountable for the crime.
For this defense to work, the accused must prove that they had a mental illness at the time of the crime. Qualified experts must evaluate the defendant’s mental activity and behavior and thoroughly explain with evidence.
An insanity argument requires convincing evidence challenging the finest perceptions of justice and morality. If successful, the accused may not be found guilty because of insanity.
In most cases, they will be committed to a mental institution instead of being sent to prison. In practice, insanity defense is rarely used, and the success rate is less than 30%.
In the self-defense strategy, the accused provides evidence that they were acting in an attempt to protect themselves or someone else. In self-defense cases, the burden of proof is on the defendant. They must show that their actions were reasonable and out of a credible fear of harm or danger at the time of the incident.
In some cases, this involves providing witnesses or evidence that they were being threatened at the time. What kind of evidence may be available is crucial in this defense strategy.
Lack Of Evidence
Lack of evidence is probably one of the most used defenses against a criminal case. It’s based on the assumption that an accused person cannot be convicted without direct proof of guilt. Unless the prosecution can demonstrate without a doubt that the defendant committed the crime, it cannot be assumed that they have done so.
As a result, people facing criminal charges often argue that there is insufficient evidence to convict them, despite the witnesses and circumstantial evidence. While this approach does not guarantee success, it can be a valid defense, depending on the nature of the case.
The entrapment defense is a common legal argument used when an individual is accused of breaking the law. It claims that the individual was induced by law enforcement to commit a crime they would not have committed otherwise.
To succeed with this defense, the defendant must show that their actions were the product of persuasion or another form of inducement from law enforcement. For example, if undercover officers press the defendant for exchanges of drugs before busting them, entrapment may be a viable defense.
To prove entrapment in court, presenting evidence that they were manipulated into committing an illegal act is not enough. The defendant must demonstrate that they felt uncontrollable pressure in these circumstances and thus could not resist following through with the act. The success of this type of defense relies heavily on how believable the defendant and their witnesses can make it seem in court.
Constitutional Violations Defense
This is a legal defense strategy based on constitutional violations. It argues that the police and prosecutors have acted in a way that violates the accused person’s rights as protected by the constitution. For instance, individuals may say they were arrested without probable cause or detained without due process of law. The following are examples of constitutional violations that can be used as a defense:
- Fourth Amendment violations include conducting illegal search and seizure or using evidence obtained through an unlawful search.
- Fifth Amendment violations include using coerced confessions and self-incriminating statements or failing to inform the defendant of their Miranda rights.
- Sixth Amendment violations include the right to counsel, the right to a public trial, the right to a fair and impartial jury, and the right to confront witnesses.
It can be challenging to win a criminal case when arguing based on constitutional violation. Nevertheless, it may be possible to obtain a good outcome with proper legal support.
A criminal defense case is a serious matter that can have life-long consequences. As such, the defendant must fully understand their case. The most common criminal law defense strategies include insanity, self-defense, inadmissible evidence, entrapment, and protection under certain laws.
The best thing is to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can look out for their rights and avoid potential pitfalls. A competent attorney is an invaluable guide in navigating a court system’s complicated inner workings.