Criminal Defenses May Vary Depending on the Facts of the Case
Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 10, 2015 – The U.S. justice system not only entitles anyone charged with a criminal offense within the country to an attorney to defend the case, but also does not automatically consider those charged to be guilty
Although exculpatory defenses used in criminal cases differ from state to state, many of the basic concepts involved in a defense are the same. One defense that tends to get a lot of media play is the plea of insanity.
If a defendant was clinically insane at the time the crime took place, the court may find the person in question not guilty in some states. Other states render verdicts of guilty but insane. “There may be a prison sentence or a sojourn in a mental hospital first,” outlines Florida criminal defense attorney Thomas Grajek.
Other states consider a criminal insane if he or she did not comprehend that the actions taken were not right, or if there was understanding of the nature of the crime, but no comprehension that the actions were wrong. “Insanity pleas run the gamut,” adds Grajek, “with some states declaring an individual is insane if they could not stop themselves from committing the crime. Others permit an insanity plea if the criminal had a mental illness when the crime was committed.”
Being under duress may mean the person forcing another to commit a crime was threatening to maim, seriously injure or kill the defendant or another person, and the person being threatened believed that the source of the threat would carry it out in some manner. A final qualification for duress as a defense is that no opportunity presented itself to flee the situation. “Being forced to take a criminal action against your better judgment or against your will is referred to as acting under duress and this is a defense to all crimes, with the exception of murder,” says Grajek.
Crimes of attempt are founded on deliberately attempting to commit the crime, but failing to actually complete the act. “For crimes of attempt and conspiracy, one defense may be abandonment,” explains Grajek. “To defend against conspiracy, the defense must show the person changed their mind about going through with it, and that they made an effort to stop others from committing the crime.” A perpetrator charged with this offense has to prove that he or she did not merely postpone committing the crime, and that the decision to stop was voluntarily.
Criminal law rests on the concept that any crime was done deliberately. However, if the defendant’s attorney is able to prove the individual acted mistakenly, that may form the basis of a viable defense. There are also other defenses to crimes committed that may include: the individual did not do it, or did do it, but it was done in self-defense, entrapment, under the influence and the alibi defense.