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by Rimsha

Three Common Criminal Defense Theories

If you're facing criminal charges, your future is on the line. Criminal law is complex and ever-changing

Date:   7/21/2022 11:03:07 PM   ( 69 d ) ... viewed 50 times

If you're facing criminal charges, your future is on the line. Criminal law is complex and ever-changing. There are plenty of theories and defenses that can help you in court. However, you could end up with a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life if you have not secured the services of a criminal defense attorney. This article will discuss three common criminal defense theories: justification, excuse, and insanity. Read more about criminal defense theories here. 

Justification

Justification is a legal defense to certain crimes that allows the defendant to show that their actions were necessary and had a lawful purpose. For example, self-defense is a type of justification. In a hate crime or crime of passion, the defendant must prove that their actions were motivated by an emotional or mental disturbance.

 

To successfully use the justification defense, the defendant must prove that:

  • They reasonably believed that they faced imminent danger of harm

  • They reasonably believed that their actions were necessary to prevent that harm

  • The force they used was proportionate to the perceived threat

 

If the defendant can prove these elements, they may be able to avoid a conviction. However, the defense will not succeed if the prosecution can prove that the defendant acted maliciously or without justification.

Excuse

An excuse is a legal defense that allows the defendant to avoid liability for their actions by showing that they had a valid reason for committing the crime. The two most common types of excuses are intoxication and necessity.

 

Voluntary intoxication would be a legal defense if the offender were so intoxicated that they could not understand their actions or appreciate the consequences. Involuntary intoxication occurs when the defendant is tricked or forced into becoming intoxicated.

 

To successfully use the excuse of intoxication, the defendant must prove that:

  • They were intoxicated

  • The intoxication prevented them from understanding their actions or appreciating the consequences

  • The intoxication was not self-inflicted

 

The necessity defense is when the defendant commits a crime to prevent greater harm. For example, if someone breaks into a car to save a child from a hot car, they may be able to use the necessity defense.

 

To successfully use the defense of necessity, the defendant must prove that:

  • The harm they committed was lesser than the harm they were trying to prevent

  • They reasonably believed that their actions would prevent the harm

  • They had no other choice but to commit the crime

Insanity

The insanity defense is used when the offender can prove they were not in their right mind when they committed the crime. This could be due to a mental illness, developmental disability, or drug-induced psychosis. This defense is very difficult to prove and is only successful in a small number of cases.

 

To successfully use the defense of insanity, the defendant must prove that:

  • They were suffering from a mental illness or defect

  • The mental illness or defect prevented them from understanding their actions or appreciating the consequences

Understanding Your Defense

Criminal charges can have life-long consequences. If you're facing charges, it's important to understand your potential defenses. It may feel like you're all alone in this process, but your criminal defense lawyer can assist you in navigating the complex legal system and protecting your rights. Schedule a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer today to discuss your case.


 

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