Taking a Look at Some Common Defenses for Criminal Charges


     By The Clark Law Office

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This article describes the most common defenses used when facing a criminal charge. It's important that the accused are made aware of their rights so that they can properly defend oneself. Briefly describes self-defense, statute of limitations, alibis, entrapment, and insanity defense strategies.

The main requirement for convicting a criminal defendant at trial is that the prosecutor needs to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the defendant has a chance to present his or her defense inf front a jury of his/her peers. If you face criminal charges, it is advisable that you should be aware of your constitutional rights and the available defenses you may use to defend yourself. Your first priority should be finding a criminal defense attorney who can advise you, and if you can't afford an experienced lawyer you still have options. Regardless, here are some of the common defenses for a criminal charge you can raise before a prosecutor.

One of the common criminal defenses is self-defense. When you are charged with violent crimes like you can use self-defense as a viable defense strategy and many times it's the truth. This means that you have to accept that you committed the crime, but justify yourself by proving that the other person was a threat to you hence you were forced to defend yourself. This shows that whatever act of crime you had committed was not premeditated or intentional, but you had to respond to the actions of the other party who threatened your safety.

A statute of limitations defense is also a very common defense for criminal charges. The premise behind the statute of limitations defense is that you can only be charged with a specific crime for a specified period after committing the offense. While this defense does not prevent you from being prosecuted for a crime you committed, it does not allow the prosecutor to charge you with a crime after the statute has expired. For example, let's say that the statute of limitations for a robbery is 5 years. If police find out that you committed the crime 5 years and 1 day after the incident, they can no longer charge you regardless of the amount of evidence they may have.

An alibi defense is a common defense for criminal charge, but it is only strong when you have adequate evidence to show that you were in another place or location when the alleged crime took place. Even if you are innocent, if your alibi isn't rock solid it may not be your best defense strategy. In order to succeed in using this defense, you must have an eyewitness or strong evidence to prove your whereabouts on the specific day the crime occurred. Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced attorney who can advise you on the strength of your alibi.

The entrapment defense is also among the most common defenses for criminal charges. This is applicable when the authorities act to induce someone to commit a crime and then go ahead and punish him or her once the act is committed. This becomes a defense because it is illegal for the authorities to use such a tactic since the crime may not have occurred if it weren't for the authorities in the first place.

Another common, but controversial defense for criminal charge is the insanity defense. This is a defense that is used by people who do not understand that what they did was wrong or those who are not able to control their behavior. You can use this defense when you have a mental problem such that you do not understand the consequences of your actions.

While this is just a short and basic list of defenses, it gives you an idea of the options available to the accused following an arrest. You should stay informed how to protect your rights, but you should also understand that defending yourself in a criminal case is rarely a good decision. You should always hire an experienced criminal defense attorney when you are facing serious criminal charges.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David M. Clark
David M. Clark is a trial attorney in Lansing, Michigan with over 30 years trial experience. He is the founder and lead attorney of The Clark Law Office.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.