A criminal defense is a set of arguments and evidence that can help someone facing criminal charges avoid conviction. Effective illegal defense strategies can vary widely depending on the circumstances of each case.
Defending a client may involve weighing witness credibility, poking holes in physical evidence and more. To convict a defendant, prosecutors must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Abandonment and Withdrawal
A criminal defense is a strategic argument challenging the prosecution’s version of events. The trial, known as the state in California and the United States for federal crimes, is tasked with proving that you committed the crime they’ve charged you with beyond a reasonable doubt. This is an incredibly high standard that the defense must meet.
Abandonment and withdrawal can be used as a criminal defense strategy when an individual is planning to commit a crime on their own and then decides not to, or they are executing a conspiracy with others and stop participating. The withdrawal or abandonment must be complete; an individual cannot simply continue to have contact with the conspirators and still join in the conspiracy’s goals.
Hollywood movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas often depict organized crime families using coercion to entrap their targets. This type of coercion or compulsion can be used as a criminal defense and is often successful in reducing charges or acquitting defendants.
Developing a criminal defense strategy often involves poking holes in witness testimonies, which are critical to a case. Whether challenging eyewitness identification or arguing that a confession was coerced, a good Wayne County criminal defense attorney will find ways to challenge evidence to discredit the prosecution’s case.
No two defendants have a factually identical version of events. Still, a defense lawyer often tries to develop a “theory of the case” consistent with provable facts and explains the evidence favoring the defendant. This will consider factors such as the reliability of defense and prosecution witnesses, community attitudes toward crime and the police, and a defendant’s moral culpability.
Misidentification is a common phenomenon that can have devastating consequences for victim-survivors’ health and well-being. It can result in a record of family violence perpetration that limits engagement with police and services, affects future employment, and can contribute to mental health problems (e.g., trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder). It also can significantly impact children, including child protection applications and the placement of the misidentified person’s children with their abusers.
Innocence is one of the strongest criminal defense strategies available, requiring a significant amount of preparation from an attorney. It is based on the principle that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A defendant can assert innocence if they did not participate in the crime or should not be held responsible for some additional circumstances. For example, a defendant might claim they were coerced or had no choice when engaging in sexual activity or another type of unlawful behavior.
This argument acknowledges that the defendant committed a crime, but they argue that they should not be held responsible because they acted under duress or other extenuating circumstances. For example, a defense lawyer might say that a defendant killed someone in self-defense to protect their family or prevent an imminent threat of harm. This strategy is based on the idea that society should expect individuals to be able to defend themselves, and it is justified and noncriminal.
A criminal defense attorney often argues that a defendant committed a crime because of self-defense, duress or coercion. This can be a difficult defense to prove, but it is important for individuals who believe they have no choice but to engage in criminal behavior. For instance, many Hollywood movies about mafia families depict mobster gangsters coercing their followers into participating in crimes by threatening violence against them or their loved ones.
When a criminal defendant uses this defense, they must show that the threat was imminent. They also must use a reasonable amount of force. For example, a husband punching his wife in the face during a heated argument at a Little League game may not qualify as self-defense.
Standard criminal defenses are a common way for people to mitigate charges against them or avoid conviction altogether. A well-formulated criminal defense strategy that incorporates these and other methods can significantly improve a person’s chances of a positive outcome in their case.