When you face a criminal charge, hope may feel in short supply. You may not be able to help having your mind linger towards the possibility of jail time, significant fines, judgment both in and out of the courtroom, and the thought of conviction following you around indefinitely. While this is all understandable and a criminal charge should absolutely be taken seriously, you should know that there are several options for many defendants to successfully beat a criminal charge. A criminal charge need not turn into a conviction. Here are some of the more commonly asserted defenses to criminal charges.
Common Defenses to Criminal Charges
While the defense strategy to fight a criminal charge will largely depend on the nature of the charge as well as the specific facts and circumstances of the case, there are usually several options for how a defense team can beat a charge. First and foremost, it needs to be addressed that the defense does not carry the burden of proof in a criminal trial. It is the prosecutor’s burden to prove the charge, and each element of the charge, beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard of proof and it can, and should, be very difficult to meet.
Because the prosecutor has the burden of proving the case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, many defense strategies involve poking holes in the prosecution’s case. Highlighting the places where reasonable doubt does, in fact, exist can be a successful way of fighting a criminal charge. Showing the weaknesses in a prosecutors case can lead to the exoneration of a defendant.
The defense may also want to present evidence that supports the assertion that the defendant did not actually commit the crime. For instance, the defense may want to assert an alibi defense. With an alibi, the defendant is essentially saying that he or she could not have committed the crime because he or she was elsewhere when the crime was being committed.
There are also defenses where the defendant admits to committing the act at issue but asserts that the act was not actually criminal in nature due to other circumstances. These defenses are referred to as “affirmative defenses.” Affirmative defenses are often raised in criminal charges involving violence. For instance, the defendant may admit that harm was done to someone else, but that the harm occurred because the defendant was defending himself or herself or defending someone else. Defense of self or defense of others is viable defenses. If you feel threatened with imminent violence, you do have the right to defend yourself. You only have the right, however, to exert the amount of force reasonably necessary to neutralize the threat. If you exceed this allowable force, then you will likely still face criminal liability.
Criminal Defense Attorneys
At Arizona Lawyers, we are prepared to fight your criminal charge so it does not become a criminal conviction. A criminal conviction is something that will follow you throughout so many aspects of your life. We are here to fight for you. Contact us today.