5 Effective Defense Strategies to Avoid Criminal Prosecution
If you’re the target of a criminal investigation, you know how stressful the legal process can be. Not only is every criminal case unique and difficult to untangle, sometimes it seems like the prosecutor has an overwhelming advantage. Believe it or not, however, the criminal justice system in the United States is stacked in your favor.
Standard of Proof
In order to convict you of a crime, the prosecution must prove that you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In legal terms, this is an extremely high standard of proof. Did you ever wonder why some criminal defendants don’t even bother to testify on their own behalf? The reason is that it’s not the responsibility of a defendant to prove their innocence.
Common Defenses to Avoid Prosecution
The defendant in a criminal case has the right to present evidence to cast doubt on the prosecution’s interpretation of events. Most criminal defense strategies can be broken down into two basic categories. A criminal defendant will either claim that they didn’t commit the crime at all, or they committed the crime but they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions.
Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. Whether you plead the fifth and remain silent or testify on your own behalf, both judge and jury are obliged to hold you innocent unless the prosecutor proves that you’re guilty.
1) Alibi Defense
One straight forward means of proving your innocents is to present an alibi. An alibi proves that you could not have committed the crime because you were somewhere else when the crime was committed. Perhaps you were with someone that can testify on your behalf.
2) Legal Responsibility Defense
Another important legal principle is that it must be shown that you intended to commit a crime. Although this defense strategy has limitations, there are a number of circumstances under which it is reasonable for a defendant to admit to a crime while claiming that they shouldn’t be held legally responsible.
3) Self Defense
When someone is assaulted by another party, for example, they possess the legal right to defend themselves without using unreasonable force.
4) Insanity Defense
An insanity defense is rarely successful, but there are times when it can be shown that the defendant was incapable of distinguishing right from wrong when the crime was committed. Mental illness is a common insanity defense. There are also a few states that allow a partial defense if the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the alleged crime was committed.
5) Entrapment Defense
Although it is illegal for a government official to induce someone to commit a crime, the prosecution may be able to prove that a defendant was predisposed toward committing the crime. Prostitution and drug stings are common examples of government operations that may still result in criminal conviction.