Common defenses when faced with a criminal charge
Being faced with a criminal charge can be distressing and difficult. It can be hard to know what to do and how to face the allegations against you. We have discussed in the past how serious the penalties can be for certain crimes. One of the charges against a man accused of stealing the footprint of a dinosaur could have landed him with a sentence of as much as 20 years.
However, for you to be convicted, the prosecutor is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the charges against you. Until this is done, you remain innocent in the eyes of the law. As is described in detail by FindLaw, in order to preserve this reasonable doubt, there are a number of defenses that are commonly used. In some cases, the simple assertion that you didn’t do the thing you stand accused of may be enough. If there is not enough evidence to prove the contrary, you may escape conviction altogether.
In some cases you may not need to say anything at all. You do not have to prove your innocence, so you may choose to let the prosecution do all the work. This is not always the best option however, and there are a number of alternatives. For example, if you can provide an alibi, demonstrating that you were elsewhere at the time of the crime that can serve as a form of reasonable doubt.
Of course, in some cases you may choose to admit to having carried out the act you are accused of. However, you may assert that you should not be deemed responsible for that action for any of a number of reasons, including the following:
- Your mental state was impaired by drugs, so you did not know what you were doing.
- You were pushed into committing the crime by a government official.
- You were acting in self-defense.
This does not cover every option and, naturally, every case is different. However, an attorney can help you understand the options available to you. Choosing the right defense can have a great impact on the outcome of your trial, so it is important to consider your position carefully and benefit from the advice available to you.
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