When you are facing a criminal charge, it can be all too easy to get discouraged. The prospect of jail time, exorbitant fees, the stigma of a criminal record, and so much more can weigh on your visions for your personal and professional present and future. Do not lose hope. There are ways to successfully defend against a criminal charge. Here, we will review some of the more commonly employed criminal defense strategies.
Common Defenses to Criminal Charges
It must first be said that in the U.S. justice system, a criminal defendant is to be innocent until proven guilty. While it may feel like you have been judged, whether it be by people in your life or in the court of public opinion, you are to remain innocent in the eyes of the law. This is important and is a foundational principle in the U.S. legal system. There is a presumption of innocence and the burden rests with the prosecution to prove that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that a defendant really does not have to do a thing to prove innocence or disprove guilt. The prosecution carries the burden of proving guilt. While the prosecution carries the brunt of the burden, it is often prudent that a defense strategy is proactive and not wait until the prosecution meets said burden.
A common defense strategy is simply to work to undermine the prosecution’s case. This can be done by casting doubt on various aspects of the prosecution’s case. It involves creating reasonable doubt where the prosecution is looking to prove an element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Other defense strategies can mainly be categorized by ones where the defendant claims not to have committed the criminal act and those where the defendant admits to committing the act the prosecution is deeming to be criminal, but asserting that, pursuant to the specific circumstances surrounding the act, it should not be deemed criminal. In a case where a defendant is asserting that he or she did not commit the criminal act in issue, defendants may assert that someone else committed the crime. The defendant may assert the alibi defense where he or she claims it is not possible that he or she committed the crime because he or she was elsewhere when the crime occurred. This may be accomplished by presenting evidence such as security camera footage, witness testimony, or receipts placing the defendant at a different location.
Other times, a defendant will assert that “I did it, but…” This is referred to as an affirmative defense. A common example of an affirmative defense is self-defense. With self-defense, the defendant is asserting that the alleged victim was actually the aggressor and put the defendant in imminent fear of harm. While the defendant may have used force against him or her, it should not be considered criminal because the defendant was merely protecting himself or herself. It should be noted, however, that, in this situation, the defendant is only authorized to use the amount of force necessary to neutralize the threat. Any amount of force above and beyond this level will still be considered criminal.
Criminal Defense Attorney
For criminal defense counsel you can count on, talk to the team at the Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman. We will develop a strong defense strategy to help you avoid conviction for the criminal offense you face. Contact us today.