If you have been charged with a crime, you might be wondering what types of defenses you can use to help your case. To answer this question, you need to know the different legal defenses associated with criminal law. Once your case goes to trial, the prosecutor must prove that you’re guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” But you’re also entitled to come up with a defense, which can be done in a variety of ways. You can try to “poke holes” in the prosecutor’s case, claim that someone else committed the crime, or claim that you had a legal and reasonable defense for doing it.
Here are some of the possible defenses that you can use in a criminal case.
This is one of the simplest defenses to any criminal case. It can be used if you didn’t commit the crime of which you have been accused, but there’s one thing you should remember. The prosecution has to prove that you’re guilty of every part of the crime with which you have been charged “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If you’re innocent of the crime, you don’t have to prove anything. You do, however, have the option of offering testimony, documents, and other types of evidence that support your claim.
#2: Constitutional Violations
These types of defenses can be used if there’s a question of how the police and other law enforcement officials collected evidence. You don’t want to miss any of these defenses, because it could lead to a dismissal of your entire case. Some constitutional violations can include the following:
- The illegal search and seizure of your home, car, clothing, or person.
- Failure to obtain a warrant for entry.
- Obtaining an improper confession.
- Failing to read your “Miranda Rights” at the time of your arrest.
Police officers will often make mistakes in the way they do their jobs, and they may require the evidence used against you to be suppressed. It may even lead to a dismissal of the prosecution’s case.
Some criminal defenses (such as the alibi defense) are considered “affirmative defenses,” which means that you must be able prove it. For an alibi defense to work, you must be able to prove that you were somewhere other than the crime scene at the time it took place. Some of the supportive evidence you can use for this defense can include:
- Testimony from someone you were with.
- Surveillance footage.
- Receipts from a restaurant, store, movie theater, or sporting event.
- Phone records.
Be sure to speak to a qualified attorney for more information.
You might have heard about this defense from watching TV courtroom dramas, but the insanity defense isn’t used very often for a few different reasons. The first one is that it’s an affirmative defense, so you must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you were suffering from a severe mental disorder or defect at the time you committed the crime.
The insanity defense is used to prove that you were either unable to know right from wrong at the time you committed the crime (known as the “M’Naghten Rule”) or you had an “irresistible impulse” to commit the crime (which means that you knew that what you were doing was wrong but wasn’t able to stop doing it).
Another reason why the insanity defense isn’t used that often is because it requires the defendant to admit that he or she committed the crime. If you use this defense and the jury doesn’t agree that you were insane, you have already admitted to too many facts against you (which will most likely help the prosecution’s case). But if the insanity defense is successful, institutionalization will be the most likely outcome.
This type of defense can be used in cases that involve assault, battery, and murder when the violence being used was a justified response to a violent act or any threat of violence from the victim. But the amount of force you used must be reasonable and proportionate (which is usually the same or less) to what was used by the victim.
#6: Defense of Others
This involves any justified use of force or violence in the defense of others. It can be used if you used violence to protect someone else (such as a spouse, a child, another family member, or even a stranger).
#7: Defense of Property
This defense could work if you used force or violence to protect any property (such as land or items) from damage or destruction, but it does have one limitation. The amount of force being used to protect your property can never be lethal.
If you’re looking for a criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi to help you with your case, be sure to reach out to Gale Law Group.