Legal Guide

What are some of the most effective ways to defend criminal charges in the USA?

A criminal defense attorney might not be the most prominent entry in your address book, but when trying times hit, he or she can become a god sent and your best chance at escaping the orange jumpsuit. Apart from a severe hit to your fashion statement, jail time can take a toll on your carrier, family life, savings and future job prospects. Only a handful of companies in the USA hire ex-felons for even the most menial jobs. With each passing day, the instances of false convictions and wrong sentences are surfacing at an alarming rate across the USA. Finding out the truth behind allegations has become more difficult than ever before due to the infobesity of our times.

Apart from aiding the defendant with relevant information and accurate presentation of facts in court, it is also the responsibility of a defense attorney to present a convincing case that includes the correct points from all available sources. Therefore, a defendant, who is honest and straight with his or her attorney, has better chances of rescuing his or her reputation in court. The presentation of a case determines the jury’s decision and the final judgment of the court. You might not need a defense attorney with his stardom, but you do need one you can rely on. You will be sharing a lot of personal details with the person, and he or she must be professional enough to uphold your interest as a client during your defense.

Criminal cases are usually not open-and-shut. They are time taking and confusing. There can be multiple versions of the truth, and it is your lawyer's job to present the precise version of your truth before the people present in the courtroom. Sometimes, the proceedings become tenacious and strenuous, but your legal team should remain focused and dedicated throughout the time. It does not take more than one wrong move for the jury body to turn against the accused. The team of professionals you hire should be able to understand the pulses of the various important personalities and officials present there to construct your case. In the best scenarios, the most convincing stories include the truth and the perception of the client (accused). The defense team must keep their client in the best light. You must never forget that even if your chances of acquittal look bleak, you should not compromise on the quality of the legal team. A better impression on the jury and the judge can help with reducing the sentence and a plea bargain. 

What are the different types of defense that can help your appeal?

If a person or an institution has accused you of a crime, you must appear in court. However, the way you present the case, arrange the available data and challenge the allegations in accordance with criminal law can make a significant difference in the outcome. The prosecution will always try their best to prove the charges they have brought against you. But, there are several ways you can react to these charges. Today, we will explore some of these approaches and help you understand how a good criminal defense firm can help its clients to prove their innocence or settle for a less severe sentence.

Here are the different types of criminal defense you can opt for –

Affirmative criminal defense

In many cases, inexperienced attorneys and impatient clients go against the prosecution directly. They try to strike their evidence and witnesses down. Standing against the allegations and clearing all charges by calling the prosecution false or wrong without enough evidence is foolhardy. You need the support of witnesses, plenty of evidence and a strong team to counter the prosecutors directly.

The other option is an affirmative defense. It might sound counterintuitive to the inexperienced, but it is one of the most effective ways to change the opinion of the court. When the defense accepts parts of the prosecution to be true, it is an affirmative defense. For example – there are instances when the lawyer has accused a person of first-degree murder. It is a serious charge since it involves preemption and deliberation. His legal team might see it fit to introduce an alibi witness. It is someone, who can testify about his innocence. The alibi becomes the defense. The nature of the argument will depend on the nature of the crime, the charges and the available witnesses (or evidence).

Insanity defense

The insanity defense is one of the most popular types due to its rampant mention in Hollywood films and TV series. Do not be tempted by the fancy words and the promising outcome cinemas promise. It is a dangerous move, and it often meets failure unless you have a robust team. In the event of an insanity defense, your team suggests that you have committed the crime, but due to one or multiple mental illnesses, you had no way of knowing the gravity of the crime.

The situation can play out in one of two ways. Firstly, the jury and the judge can accept your lack of judgment due to active psychological or psychosocial disorders. That will result in a reduced sentence, but it might end in you spending considerable time in the psych unit of penitentiaries. Secondly, to claim insanity, you need first to accept the charges against you. That means if you fail to convince the jury or the judge of your insanity, you can receive a full sentence that comes with acceptance of the charges. Always consult with a reputable criminal lawyer with experience in this specific type of defense before you bring the insanity plea on the table.

Duress and coercion

It is also an affirmative criminal defense, where you accept the charges, but you state that someone or some people used unlawful force to compel you into committing the crime. It is very common during drug trafficking and peddling charges. Indeed, there are times when a drug trafficker has young men and women working for him under the threat of physical harm. In fact, in these cases, unlawful force does not occur. There is a mention of it, and that can be apt for justifying duress and coercion defense.

However, you must always remember that if your irresponsible actions put you in the situation in the first place, this defense does not hold. It is only advisable in the instances where an innocent person has become a part of a crime due to an imminent threat to him or a family member.

Abandonment and withdrawal

This type of criminal defense is also popular as renunciation. It states that you were about to engage in a criminal act, but then you decided to absolve yourself of all responsibilities by abandoning the task. You must not confuse this as challenging the persecution since it is a type of affirmative defense. During this kind of argument, your legal team searches for evidence that proves your absence from the planning and the execution of the crime. Mostly, it is important to provide proof of your abandonment.

In most of the cases, renunciation defense sees a higher percentage of success than other forms of it. For this type of defense to be effective, it is best that you provide proof of your leaving before the action. Additionally, your efforts should not be responsible for the situation that has landed you in court in the first place. It also helps if you can prove that you had informed or at least tried to inform the law enforcement about the crime in advance. 

Other popular defense types

There are several other popular forms of criminal defenses. While most of them are easy to execute, others are confounding and complicated. Irrespective of which category you think is applicable for your situation; you need to consult a professional criminal defense litigation service for getting rid of all charges.

Consent: it is a tricky time to put forth the consent defense. It is a type of affirmation defense, where the defendant accepts that he or she committed some form of action. However, it also tries to prove that the act was consensual. It usually pertains to cases of sexual acts and bodily harm during the same. 

Intoxication: in 2018, pleading guilty to being intoxicated and yet pleading "not guilty" to the charges against you does not hold well in the house of law. In fact, accepting alcohol and drug abuse can cause you to lose favor with the jury and the judge. It does not rid you of all charges, but it can help in a few select situations.

Self-defense: it is one of the most common criminal defenses in the world. It states that the actions of the defendant cannot be criminal since he or she was trying to defend himself or herself. 

The statute of limitations: when the prosecution has taken more than permissible time to build a case against the defendant. Therefore, the court should drop all charges.

The type you pick and the success of the same will depend on the charges against you and the crime(s) you may have committed. However, to a great extent, it depends on the legal team you have working with you to clear your name.

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