Defending Yourself After Criminal Charges
Almost any criminal charge can carry serious punishments. In most cases, the level of punishment that the charge potentially brings will influence your decision to seek help from a lawyer that practices criminal law. The type of criminal offense and the exact circumstances surrounding the alleged incident will determine how your attorney handles your case. Read on to find out more about common criminal defensive actions.
You must have a good deal of information at your disposal before your lawyer can plan out your defense. In some cases, it's important to refute the state's evidence. For example, you will need to put your own witnesses on the stand to refute the state's witnesses. This type of defense might be used to show that you were elsewhere when the crime was being committed (an alibi defense). In other cases, you must not only refute the state's evidence but bring your own evidence to prove one the below common defenses.
1. Self-defense—Taken out of context, your actions might be seen as criminal. Taken together with proof of extenuating circumstances, however, you might be able to prove that you had no choice but to act in an attempt to save yourself from injury or death.
2. Renunciation—Just being connected to a crime can be a crime itself, but renunciation means that you withdrew your participation in the crime prior to it happening. For example, you may have gotten into the car with others who intended to commit a crime, but you fled the scene before the crime was actually committed. You must show that you had no part in the planning or execution of the crime.
3. Coercion—When you only committed a crime under duress, your lawyer will attempt to show that your life was in danger at the time. This also applies to loved ones. For example, if your home was invaded and your children held hostage, you might have no choice but to hold up a bank for others. You must show that you did not set the entire situation up in order to gain some benefit.
4. Insanity—This defense is very seldom used. It can be difficult to prove that you were so mentally impaired that you did not understand the consequences of your alleged criminal activities. Here, you readily admit doing the crime but that you were suffering from a mental issue at the time. This defense is seldom successful and not used often because you may still be sentenced to spend time at a mental institution (some of which are almost as bad as prisons). Or, you are admitting you committed the crime, so you essentially have no defense whatsoever if the jury finds that you were not insane.
Speak to your criminal defense lawyer about your defense today to learn more about your options.