While the law helps in maintaining peace and security in a society, there might be some unfortunate times when someone is accused of a crime that he/she didn’t commit. It is during these times when the defendant and the attorney will most likely weigh the available options and establish a certain kind of criminal defense to prevent a harsh verdict or facilitate acquittal from all charges.
Criminal defenses are basically justifications that might help the defendant by simplifying the process of exoneration or acknowledging diminished accountability in the criminal act. There are more than a handful of noteworthy criminal defenses that an accused can use in the court as and when the situation demands. However, the final decision still rests in the hands of the jury or the judge, as the case may be.
There are several types of criminal defenses that the defendant’s attorney can use for challenging the validity, as well as the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution, which will try to prove all the criminal charges against the accused. There are cases in which one or more than one of these strategies have been applied for getting the defendant out of the legal mess easily, but it will solely depend upon the situation as to what and how many defenses can be used.
The defense of search and seizure
Law enforcement officials should have a definite cause or a rational suspicion that the suspect has violated a law before detaining or stopping the person. Whatever the case may be, the search should be very limited and follow an arrest, or the seized items should be kept in plain sight. In case a search warrant is issued, it can be checked for its validity, verification and limitations pertaining to search and seizure. A person troubled beyond the scope of a warrant can use it as a defense in the court of law and come out free of all charges.
Acting in self-defense
This is one of the most commonly used defenses in cases involving assault or homicide. The defendant might claim to have attacked or killed the victim in self-defense only after the victim attempted to attack or kill the defendant. Once the court establishes the fact that the attacker or the victim would have otherwise harmed the defendant, and the defendant tried to save their life, all charges might be dropped and the court can give a judgment in the favor of the accused.
Defense of automatism
In this kind of defense, the attorney can state that the defendant had no control over the actions and, thus, cannot be held guilty for the crime. The accused might have been provoked or deluded, incapacitated, or mentally unstable or may even have been sleep walking. On a general note, the defendant might have been in such a state of mind whereby he/she has no control over their actions and might have committed the crime without the ability to differentiate between what is right and wrong.
Defense of infancy
Several jurisdictions have something called the Age of Criminal Responsibility. If any person commits a crime in a younger age than the age of criminal responsibility, it is not permissible to hold the accused legally responsible for the felony. The attorney may file a claim that the defendant does not qualify the minimum age limit as set by the law and cannot be held responsible for the unlawful act.
These are some popular defenses that enable a person to evade legal prosecutions and emerge free from all charges or with minimum charges. Apparently, the most ideal course of action in such a case is to not go against the law. However, in case something unfortunate happens, these are some criminal defenses that can prove to be helpful in such situations.