When an individual is accused of a crime, they often consider how they get out of the situation and what will happen if they are convicted. No matter the severity of a charge, a defendant should take the situation seriously and consider their defense options. Taking the step to fight allegations could result in reduced charges, lesser penalties and even the dismissal of the charges entirely.
How do you defend yourself against criminal charges? Because every case is different, defendants may choose to use one criminal defense strategy over another. However, defenses usually fall under one of two categories: I didn’t do it or I did do it, but I shouldn’t be held responsible.
With regards to the first category, in order to prove that the defendant didn’t do it, three common defenses are frequently utilized. The first is proving they are innocent. While the presumption is that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty, this isn’t often an ideal defense because that is already presumed. If this is the strategy that the defendant seeks to employ, they will often plead the fifth, remain silent and not share a shred of evidence in order to prevail.
Another option for proving that a defendant didn’t do it is reasonable doubt. A prosecutor must prove that there is no reasonable doubt to the judge or jury. If reasonable doubt can be shown, the defendant could be found innocent.
Several defenses could be used to prove that a defendant shouldn’t be held responsible, even if they admit the act. These often include self-defense, insanity defense, under the influence defense and entrapment defense. For most of these defense options to be successful, the judge and jury must believe that the defendant wasn’t predisposed to commit the crime.
While criminal defendants are entitled to a defense, it is not only important to use this legal right but also understand the defense options available to defendants. Seeking legal guidance could help ensure the rights and interests of a defendant are protected.