During a criminal trial, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. The defendant is entitled to an attorney who can present their defense in a court of law. There are a few common types of criminal defenses. It’s best that you retain professional legal counsel if you are facing serious charges, advises Miami criminal defense attorney Stroleny. Your attorney can craft the right legal defense for you and your situation. Some of the most common types are listed below.
In order to win a case using the self-defense argument, you must prove that the other person was the aggressor, that you reasonably believed that you or someone else was in imminent danger and that the amount of force used was reasonable. This may be a viable defense in the case of assault, but a highly contentious part of these cases is determining whether the level of force used was reasonable. For example, if one person shoved another person, it would not be reasonable to stab them in response.
Sometimes actions can be excused if the actor is able to establish the duress defense, in which the defendant argues that they should not be held criminally liable or responsible for their actions in response to a threat of imminent physical harm to themselves or a loved one, or the actual use of physical force. If a reasonable person would have been driven to commit a crime because someone else held a gun to their head and made them do it, then the defendant may be found not guilty.
Entrapment is when law enforcement entices or coerces someone into committing a criminal act when they were not predisposed or planning to commit the offense in the first place. This defense rests on the legal theory that government agents may not originate a criminal design or implant in an innocent person’s mind the idea to commit a crime and then induce the commission of the crime to prosecute the individual. Entrapment often involves threats, seduction, intimidation, or other methods to force the defendant to commit a crime, such as setting up a sting operation for a suspected burglar.
The alibi defense is used when the alleged criminal claims that they were someplace other than the scene of the crime at the time it occurred. For example, the alibi defense can be used if you are charged with selling drugs at a particular apartment complex but can produce documents averring that you were at work when the crime was committed. Receipts, punch cards, video footage, and eyewitness testimony from whoever saw you at the place where you claimed to be while the crime was happening are all key pieces of evidence when pursuing the alibi defense.
Mistake of Fact/Law
With this type of defense, the alleged criminal did commit an illegal act, but they committed it under a mistake of fact. Sometimes people don’t know the laws of a particular jurisdiction and violate them without criminal intent; for example, if you move to a different state and aren’t aware of a law there that has no parallel in your former state. If you did not understand the crime’s circumstances, you could use this defense in your case. Another example of mistake of fact is when a person steals something that they thought they had permission to take. This defense only works when reasonable. The prosecution would have to prove that the alleged criminal performed the act with specific intent.
Why You Need A Criminal Defense Attorney
You need a criminal attorney to protect your rights and help you through the pitfalls that can happen in any criminal investigation. Aggravating factors and mitigating factors are two different types of evidence that can affect the outcome of a case. The prosecutor presents aggravating factors, which increase the defendant’s guilt or the enormity of the crime, or add to its injurious consequences. A mitigating factor, also known as an extenuating circumstance and presented by the defense, is any evidence presented in court that can be used to reduce charges or get a lesser sentence.
The best way to determine which legal defense will work for you is to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal conviction can affect your housing, education, driving privileges, professional licenses, child custody, and other aspects of your life. Fortunately, a skilled attorney with a track record of success may be able to reduce your charges.