The Different Types of Criminal Defense in a Court of Law
To build the right defense in a criminal case, you have to understand the types of defense for various criminal cases and where they can be used. Understanding the types of defense can help you choose the right criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania to represent your case.
If you’ve been accused or charged with a crime, the defense strategy you and your attorney prepare can prevent a guilty verdict. For all criminal charges, it’s important to know the types of defense and situations in which they can be used.
There are some uncommon types of defense, including the insanity defense, that are not used frequently and don’t typically yield successful results. For the insanity defense, the defendant must have a severe mental disease or defect and your attorney must present clear and convincing evidence that this disease or defect resulted in you not understanding your actions were wrong. It’s a risky defense because by using it, you’re admitting to committing the crime and if the jury or prosecution is able to successfully argue against the insanity claim, you’ll be found guilty.
Now, let’s take a look at some common types of defenses.
Affirmative Criminal Defense
When the strategy for your case is an affirmative criminal defense, you and your attorney are attempting to disprove the evidence the prosecution has and show that it is false. A common strategy is to produce an alibi witness that claims you were with them at the time the crime in question was committed. If there is no alibi, you must product other evidence that supports you did not commit the crime. The type of affirmative defense chosen by you and your attorney will depend in part on the crime you’re accused of and the evidence available.
When choosing this defense, you’re indicating that you were planning to commit or be an accomplice to a crime, but you chose to abandon or withdrawal involvement. Similar to an affirmative defense, you must show evidence and prove the abandonment occurred. For this defense to be successful, the defendant must have notified police in advance of the crime that the crime would occur.
Coercion & Duress
With this defense, the accused claims a crime was committed under compulsion where bodily harm was being threatened for non-compliance. The bodily harm doesn’t have to occur, but the threat is enough to use this defense. The coercion or duress defense cannot be used if your actions put you in the situation that caused duress. As an example, if one crime, such as a drug deal, resulting in leading to a second crime where you were coerced into robbery or theft, this defense would not be successful. For your criminal defense strategy in Philadelphia, consult with your attorney to see if you’re able to use this defense.
Infancy, Mistake, or Entrapment
These types of defenses are similar in nature where the defendant may not be held legally responsible when defended successfully. Infancy is when a crime occurs at a young age and the claim might be that you were younger than the age of criminal responsibility. For a defense of mistake, the defendant claims they were unaware the actions were illegal. With entrapment, a person is deceived by an official into thinking a particular act was not illegal when in reality it was.
There are a few other common defenses that your attorney may invoke when reviewing your criminal case.
- Self Defense: Stating that actions were committed under self-defense to protect oneself.
- Consent: The crime was committed under act of consent by a victim.
- Statute of Limitations: The time allotment for the prosecution to bring charges for a certain crime has passed and the charges must be dropped.
The defense prepared can be the breaking point in whether you’re found guilty or innocent. Consult with an attorney and find the best representation for your situation.