There are several ways to defend criminal charges, but a common approach is to admit that the crime was committed, then argue that there is a reason this crime was committed which deems the action legal. This type of defense is known as an affirmative defense. Rather than denying evidence the prosecutor brings up, the defendant and attorney will argue among several types of defenses.
Arguing that charges go beyond the statute of limitations is one of the easiest ways to get criminal charges dropped. Crimes have a certain time limit in which the alleged perpetrator can be prosecuted. For example, if the statute of limitations on murder in a certain state is ten years, and you are charged with a crime that happened 15 years ago, the statute of limitations may be a successful defense.
The insanity defense is one approach that, while often depicted in fictional films or shows, is not used often and is difficult to successfully prove. However, it can be used in some cases. This argument allows the defendant to say that while they did commit the crime, they were unaware that the action was wrong. This requires a high level of proof. It can also backfire because the defendant is admitting to committing the crime, which can bring a guilty verdict if the defense doesn’t pass the level of proof required.
Coercion is another defense that can be used to get charges dropped. This defense is somewhat easier to prove than the insanity defense, and basically says that while the defendant committed the crime, he or she was forced to do it. An example of this would be if someone forces you to steal a woman’s purse by holding you at gunpoint. However, if you were engaged in illegal or reckless behavior that put you at risk in the first place, this defense will not work.
Self-defense is a rather common position to take as it doesn’t require a very high level of proof, just enough to create doubt. This argument again means admitting to performing the action; however, the defendant claims it was done in order to protect his or her person or property. A common example of this would defending yourself against someone who broke into your home.
There are certain standards of proof to all of these defenses; therefore, it is imperative to seek the representation or at least advice of an attorney prior to opting for any of these defenses. The defense chosen will be based on the evidence involved in the case, as well as the evidence the prosecution has against the defendant.
If you find yourself in need of advice or a criminal defense lawyer in Savannah, GA, contact Dennis O’Brien with O’Brien Law Firm PC. Dennis is a former police officer, years of experience working as a criminal defense attorney.