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Common Defenses Argued In Criminal Cases

Posted on November 9, 2023 in

When a defendant goes on trial for committing a crime, a prosecutor must establish the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt to charge them for such allegations. The criminal defendant is entitled to present a defense that may or may not support their cause. These claims are considered “defenses” in the court of law and can be reasonable enough to avoid legal punishment or can be argued as an attempt to poke holes into the prosecutor’s plan of action. The best defense is knowledge. A competent criminal defense attorney in Phoenix can equip you with sufficient knowledge about legal defenses aside from providing legal representation, should your case goes to trial. 

Here are some of the most common defenses argued by those charged with criminal trials:

Understanding The Significance Of Criminal Actions

One of the main categories for “common defenses” would be arguing that the defendant cannot be accused of a crime or be found guilty of an offense they did not understand or may not be aware of committing. Such defense can fall under insanity, intoxication, mistake of fact, or mistake of law.

The defense of insanity requires the defendant to prove the mental disorder that rendered them incapable of rational thinking. In some states, the defendant established as insane can avoid prison time but is put into a psychiatric facility to be treated and cared for.

On the other hand, intoxication also relies on the theory that the defendant did not understand nor were able to control their actions due to the influence of alcoholic substances. Such defense can be both involuntary and voluntary. Voluntary intoxication to avoid wrongful acts can be used only for a specific intent. In contrast, involuntary intoxication can be a defense that proves the defendant did not understand what they were doing at the time under the influence.

Lastly, a criminal defendant may argue a mistake of fact, wherein the defendant misunderstood some fact that negates an element of the crime, provided that it was an honest and reasonable error.  On the other hand, a mistake of law is when the defendant has the notion that the act committed was not unlawful. There are minimal cases and circumstances that prove this claim. However, these instances happen, nonetheless, becoming a victim of a mistake of law and believing that their actions were lawful besides what is written or verbally stated.

Justified Course Of Action

Another category of commonly argued defenses is justified actions. If an individual has proven that their actions were due to the need of the moment to guarantee their safety, it may be applied to prove their claim. These are cases that would fall under self-defense, duress, and necessity.

Self-Defense is the most recognized form of justified course of action. The defendant may argue that the act was done to avoid harming the people within the vicinity. A great example is shooting an intruder who threatened to take his life with a knife or gun, and other people were involved in the situation. Defending oneself legally allows you to take action.

On the other hand, duress allows the defendant to argue that they only committed the crime because they were forced to do so. Related to self-defense, the defendant may have been in a situation where they were being dictated to act to secure their safety and the safety of the witnesses. 

The necessity defense is when a defendant claims that they only acted in such a manner to avoid further harm. They were put in a situation where they had no choice but to forget the limitations of the law to protect the safety of others. An example would be stealing a car to chase down individuals who have threatened an establishment with explosives and run away.

No Crime Was Committed

There are instances or a smaller set of defenses used to argue one’s innocence, and that would be when a crime was in action, but the defendant didn’t commit a crime. They can be subcategorized through consent, abandonment or withdrawal, and entrapment.

If someone is charged with rape but has proven that they were given consent for the act, they can prove their innocence for the claim. A defendant may argue that consent was present. Therefore, the accusation made was wrongfully given.

On the other hand, abandonment or withdrawal is a common defense when a criminal plan to participate in a crime but has a change of heart and opts not to take action. 

Entrapment is claimed if the government induced an individual to commit a crime they never intended to be a part of. They were then threatened to be punished should they not participate in the crime. These individuals benefit from the doubt and are considered a defense.

The Reason Behind Providing Common Defense

The Declaration of Independence reminds us that every individual possesses inalienable rights. Therefore, they must be given the convenience to practice it. Among such rights are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As mentioned earlier, the government creates and establishes justice through domestic tranquility to secure these rights. Providing common defense allows each individual to embrace their rights as a U.S. citizen

Why Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Criminal cases should be handled by a criminal lawyer. Having a Phoenix criminal attorney specializing in the matter is your best bet to prove your innocence. Certified specialists in criminal law are individuals that have the body of work and knowledge to support your claim and or defense. They are sourced from a reputable law firm. 

These common defenses may be argued within the court of law, and the verdict will be decided by those preceding it, but having the supporting data and arguments can make or break your statements. Do not trust your instincts in a court of law. You must be well represented and therefore need to hire an attorney.

Criminal law specialists have a variety of practices under their belt that can be utilized to your advantage. The common defenses mentioned above are the form of claims that can be raised in court but knowing the capabilities of your criminal law specialist can also further your cause. Some of these practices are as follows:

Make sure to hire a reliable criminal defense lawyer to secure your chances as a defendant. Facing criminal charges is not to be taken as lightly as some may assume. These common defenses are not used to avoid punishments, rather they are presented here to prove the innocence of the defendant. An Arizona criminal defense attorney will not only help you make the best decision, but they will also walk you through the appropriate course of action needed to keep you out of jail.

The criminal justice system is filled with twists and turns that should be handled by those certified and practiced in the field. Jail time is not a joke, fines are supposed to be paid, and individuals are innocent until proven guilty.

Reckless acts do not define an individual. How they follow and abide by the legal process of criminal defense law needed to fight for their constitutional rights will allow them to practice and acknowledge what they are being charged with, to get the best possible outcome. Statute and statute of limitations within the court of law are upheld for individuals who are charged with a crime.

Call us today and contact our office at Sander Law Group to build your legal defenses with esteemed attorneys in Phoenix. We can work together to prove your innocence. We offer consultations ready to be scheduled.