Defenses A Criminal Lawyer May Use in Court
Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 4, 2014 – There are a variety of criminal defenses that may be used in court. Each depends on the circumstances of the case.
“There are a number of defenses that may be used to excuse criminal behavior, which varies from state to state. However, the basic concept remains the same in every state. The thing to remember is that rather than a defense being an excuse, it is a valid defense for a person who is, by law, innocent until proven guilty. There have been numerous cases in the U.S. where a defendant was wrongfully accused and jailed,” outlines Thomas C. Grajek, a Lakeland, Florida criminal defense attorney.
In criminal law, the defendant must have committed a wrongful act deliberately. If a defense attorney is able to prove the accused acted mistakenly, this is a valid defense. An example would be taking home tires found by a repair shop. They looked like no one was using them, had no tags, and appeared to be abandoned behind the building. On taking them home, the individual is charged with theft. Their mistaken belief was the tires were abandoned and thus there was no deliberate intention to steal.
“A defense attorney may be able to claim that his client was pressured to commit a crime, meaning they carried out their instructions under duress. This is a valid defense for all crimes, with the exception of murder. If an attorney is using duress as a defense, it must be proven the defendant was under an immediate threat of death or serious injury to themselves or another, honestly thought the threat would be carried out and that there was no reasonable chance to escape,” said Grajek.
For the crimes of attempt and conspiracy, the defense may be abandonment. Conspiracy is defined as an agreement between to or more individuals to commit a crime. In order to mount a defense for this charge, it must be shown that the individual(s) changed their mind about actually committing the crime, and show that they made a reasonable effort to stop others from doing the same. The crime of attempt is when someone specifically tries to commit a crime but does not complete the act. A defense must show that the defendant stopped trying to commit the deed completely and not just put off doing it. It must also be shown that the defendant voluntarily made the decision to stop.
”Insanity is still a defense and in some states you may be judged not guilty. In others, you may be found guilty, but insane and still receive a prison sentence, to be served should you ever successfully complete treatment for your mental condition,” added Grajek.
Insanity may also apply in some states where an individual did not comprehend what they were doing or if they did understand what they were doing, but did not grasp that it was wrong. In other jurisdictions defendants are considered legally insane if they were not able to stop themselves from committing a crime – pleading insanity if a mental disorder was present at the time of the crime that caused the perpetrator to commit the crime.
“Everyone is entitled to a defense, no matter what the crime. We need to remember as well that just because someone is charged with a crime, no matter what it may be, they may not be guilty, and they need the services of a competent criminal defense attorney to be their voice to seek justice,” Grajek explained.