When someone is charged with a crime, the first thoughts that may come to their mind are the defenses available to them. This is when a bit of knowledge about this important subject may come in handy.
Here are some common legal defenses to increase your knowledge and awareness of the law.
What Is A Criminal Defense?
Legal defense can be said to be strategic arguments that challenge the accusations posed by the prosecution or state. Depending on your justice system, the prosecution can be referred to as the people, the state, or the United States for federal crimes. They have an obligation to prove their case against you beyond any reasonable doubt, should you be charged with any crime.
The following are some common legal defenses available to the accused.
As stated earlier, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’ve committed a crime. So, if you’re innocent of the crime, your first line of defense could be a plea of innocence. When you plead innocent, you’re not obliged to prove your innocence, and it will be the state’s case to prove their accusations. You’ll still have the option to prove your innocence, however, to strengthen your case.
2. Constitutional Violation
In criminal law, constitutional violations include police misconduct. Examples of this legal defense include:
- Failure to inform you of your rights at the time of your arrest
- Unwarranted seizure of goods
- Failure to obtain a search warrant before entering your property
- Obtaining evidence illegally
You have to always be on the lookout for such violations as it could help with the dismissal of your case. Legal firms like Nashville Criminal Defense Law Firm and many others can easily identify these violations and turn the odds in your favor.
An alibi serves as evidence that shows that you were somewhere else other than a crime scene when the crime was committed. It can be a powerful defense that supports your innocence. If you have an alibi, some supporting evidence may, however, be required. This includes testimonials, receipts, video footage, phone records, and many others.
Self-defense is normally used as a criminal defense in crimes such as a battery, assault, or murder. You could use this defense if you acted violently to protect yourself against a perpetrator. However, self-defense is a possible legal defense only if you used the same or less force than the other involved party.
For example, you’ll probably lose the case if you claim it was self-defense when you assaulted a kid who’d jumped on your back in the park. It would be more plausible if you claimed self-defense against an adult who threw a beer bottle at you in a bar.
Defense-of-others is when you use violence to defend others from possible harm. Just like with self-defense, you’d need to prove that you used minimal force to disarm the perpetrator. That should be easy if the victims you were protecting when you committed the alleged crime are present to testify in your defense.
As the term suggests, this is when you use violence to protect your property, such as your car, home, or other items, from being damaged or destroyed. You’ll, however, need to prove that you didn’t use lethal force to protect the property when you committed the alleged crime.
7. Involuntary Intoxication
Being involuntarily intoxicated means that you were intoxicated, but not knowingly. If you acted criminally while high from a spiked drink, for example, you could use involuntary intoxication as a legal defense.
8. Mistake Of Law
Sometimes you may be charged with a crime that you genuinely didn’t think was a crime when you committed it. For example, you could be charged with stealing a car, but if the car belongs to your mother, and you thought you could use it, then you can use this legal defense.
If you were forced into doing something that got you arrested, you could use coercion or duress as your defense. If you’re into movies, then you may remember how some gangsters would force people into doing some criminal activities for them using threats to family members.
Using insanity is another criminal defense that may require you to prove that you had a severe mental defect when you committed the crime. When you use this defense, it means one of two things: that you were unaware you were committing a crime, or you knew you were committing a crime but could not stop due to mental illness.
Using the insanity defense is, however, risky if you’re indeed innocent of a crime. The reasons are, you’d need to admit to committing the crime, and if you do manage to convince the jury that you were indeed out of it during the commission of the crime, you’ll likely be sentenced to stay in a mental institution.
Even innocent people can end up in police custody, with charges being laid against them. Having the right defenses is always a good starting point for untangling oneself from a legal predicament. Remember, however, that getting a good lawyer could make the legal journey smoother and more bearable.