All criminal cases are unique, but there are certain common defenses. To convict a defendant, prosecutors must prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The standard is high, and during a trial, a defendant may offer a defense to raise doubt. Most defenses fall into two categories as shown below.
The Defendant Didn’t Do It
The most elementary defense to criminal charges is for the defendant to prove they did not commit the crime. In the American justice system, people are innocent until they are proven guilty, and defendants may remain silent and still win in court.
- Beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors must prove to the jury and judge that no doubt exists as to the defendant’s guilt. If there is doubt, the prosecutor’s efforts have failed and the defendant is innocent. The standard is sufficiently high that most attorneys focus on raising reasonable doubt.
- The defendant has an alibi. A defendant can prove they didn’t commit a crime by offering an alibi defense, or evidence that they were somewhere else when the crime occurred. By proving to the jury and judge that the defendant wasn’t at the scene of the crime,
- criminal lawyers Taunton
- can create reasonable doubt.
The Defendant Did It, But Isn’t Responsible
In some cases, a defendant admits to an act but claims that they shouldn’t be held responsible. Below are a couple of examples of such a defense.
- Self-defense: Here, when someone is charged with a violent crime, such as assault or battery, the defendant may demonstrate that they were the victim and that their actions were to protect themselves from physical harm. Proving this defense can be difficult, and the defendant’s response must be reasonable.
- Insanity: Although it makes for great TV, defendants seldom use the insanity plea as a defense. The theory behind it is that for a crime to occur, intent is required.
An entrapment defense may be used when an official induces a person to commit an offense. Common examples are drug or prostitution stings. The theory behind the defense is that the authorities should not be allowed to induce someone to commit a crime just to gain a conviction. Local criminal lawyers in Taunton can help a client evaluate their possible defenses and apply them to the case.