Common Defenses to a Criminal Charge

Client meeting criminal defense attorney

Facing a criminal charge is a serious matter. It is not, however, the end of the road. In fact, there are many different ways to effectively challenge a criminal charge. While, in the U.S. legal system, defendants are said to be innocent until proven guilty, a solid criminal defense can go a long way to undermine any assertions set forth by the prosecution. Mounting a successful defense to a criminal charge will depend on many things, including the defendant and the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Here, we are going to discuss some of the more commonly raised defenses to a criminal charge.

Common Defenses to a Criminal Charge

One of the most common criminal defense strategies is to simply undermine the prosecution’s case as much as possible. The prosecution carries the burden of proving a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest threshold to meet in the U.S. legal system. By poking holes in the prosecution’s case, a defense attorney can create reasonable doubt that a defendant should be held legally responsible for a criminal act.

There are a variety of defenses that may be available to a criminal defendant. Some defenses assert that while a crime may have been committed, the defendant was not the perpetrator of the crime. This can be established through something like an alibi defense. An alibi defense claims that the defendant could not have been the perpetrator of a crime because he or she was engaged elsewhere and was not at the scene of the crime when the crime was committed.

There are also defenses that assert that, while it may appear that a crime occurred, no crime actually occurred. Consent in a sexual assault case is a common example of this type of defense. Additionally, the defense of abandonment or withdrawal is a common example of this type of defense. With abandonment or withdrawal, a defendant asserts that while he or she initially agreed or intended to participate in or commit a crime, he or she ended up withdrawing from participation.

Another category of commonly employed defenses to a crime include those where the defendant admits that the act deemed criminal was committed and committed by him or her, but that he or she was justified in his or her actions so there should be no legal penalty imposed. An example of this type of defense is self-defense or defense of others. In other words, the defendant may have put his or her hands on someone else, but it was only to neutralize a threat. Similar to self-defense or defense of others is the necessity defense where a defendant asserts that he or she committed the criminal act in order to prevent some other, more significant, harm from occurring. Duress is another common example of this type of defense. With duress, the defendant asserts that he or she committed the crime, but only did so because of being forced by someone else.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you are facing a criminal charge, do not lose hope. Instead, get in touch with Dickman Law. We are dedicated to mounting the most rigorous criminal defense in order to protect our clients. Contact us today.


Posted in: Criminal Defense