Lawyers defend their clients in a court who are charged with criminal activities that range from felonies to misdemeanors. If the client is convicted, they may have to pay a set fine, serve a certain time-frame in prison, conduct community service and is some cases receive a death penalty. The role of the criminal defense lawyers is to try and get their clients acquitted or ensure they receive a lighter sentence. In order to achieve this, a criminal defense attorney uses a number of defenses.
The Affirmative Criminal Defense
Certain criminal-defense lawyers will try to minimize the evidence of the prosecution in the way of trying to show that its not true. An example of this may be when a defendant has been charged with 1st-degree murder, which will mean that the defendant planned this murder before it was carried out, they might use an alibi-witness. This is a person that will testify that the client was not able to commit such a crime and offer an alibi in association to the time at which this murder was carried out.
The Insanity Defense
This particular defense has been made popular through television shows and movies. Unfortunately, in reality this defense is not used frequently and usually doesn’t work. When a criminal defense attorney makes use of this defense, it means that the defendant committed the crime, but they were unaware that the act they were involved in was wrong. To successfully use such a defense, the defendant will either have a mental illness or serious defect when the crime was committed. This is a risky defense as the client has to admit to the crime. If a jury is not convinced that the defendant is insane, they will find the defendant guilty and usually hand-down a more significant sentence, if they had not made use of such a defense.
Coercion And Duress
This is a defense that the lawyer will use that states that the defendant was forced into committing a crime as they were threatened with an unlawful force. The actual force is not a necessity, and the threat is usually enough in order to satisfy this type of defense. In addition, the threat does not necessarily need to be against the defendant. It may ne against another person such as a close family member. This defense type cannot be used if the reckless actions of the client is what placed them into a situation which caused this duress.
General Criminal Defenses
1. Self Defense
This defense states that the actions of the client are considered as criminal when the act did not involve defending themselves.
2. Status Of Limitations
This occurs when a criminal-defense lawyer uses the time-frame that the prosecution will have to charge the defendant with a crime. If the time-frame has elapsed the charges will need to be dropped.
This is an acknowledgment that the client has committed a crime, with the victim’s consent.