More Criminal Defenses to Criminal Offenses
More Common Criminal Defenses subject is the second part of “common legal defenses”. To see the first part, visit:
Every case is unique with several avenues of defense, so it’s best to speak with a criminal defense specialist about the details of your case.
Every criminal case is defensible.
Duress is a valid defense when someone forces you to commit an unlawful act by threatening you with death or serious injury. Generally, threats to a third party also qualify (for instance your wife or children). There is no defense if “a sober, reasonable person” would have responded differently. The accused must not have escaped the immanent threat, and the duress must be an order to do something specific. You cannot use the duress defense if say, you owe the person money, so you go and rob a bank by your own free will to pay the money back.
- You and your wife were kidnapped and held captive by an armed maniac, and he tells you to go rob a bank or he will murder your wife. You comply and walk into a bank and rob the bank. Duress would be a valid defense in this case.
12. Involuntary Intoxication
There are times when you might have been drugged or given alcohol without even knowing it. For instance, spiked punch, jello shots, or you were slipped a “roofie” at a party. These situations are somewhat rare but they happen. In such a case, a strong “involuntary intoxication” defense can be built.
- You are at a party drinking, and someone slips you a Rohypnol with the intent to rape you. They attempt to take advantage of you but you manage to get away from them and go to your car. You take off in a haste and make it about 2 miles before you realize that you crashed your car into twelve parked cars along the way. The police find you slumped over in the driver’s seat and arrest you for an aggravated DUI.
13. Diminished Responsibility
A Diminished responsibility defense is a legal doctrine that absolves an accused person of part of the liability for a criminal act if it can be proven that they suffer from such degradation of their mental faculties as to substantially impair their ability to reason. This defense strategy provides a mitigating defense in cases in which the mental defect is not enough to exclude criminal responsibility altogether. Thus “diminished”.
- Your abusive husband of twenty years is guilty of domestic battery on a monthly basis. You suffer from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result. One night, you’ve had enough after being beaten earlier that evening. You end up shooting your husband in his sleep. You are charged with murder, but your defense attorney is able to mitigate the charge substantially using “Diminished Responsibility” due to the years of abuse.
The Insanity plea may negate the intent of any crime, and pertains only to crimes with an intent element. There are many legal definitions as to what, precisely, constitutes criminal insanity. The most common definitions involve the defendant’s lack of understanding of the wrongfulness of the criminal act, or their inherent inability to follow the conduct of the law. If one succeeds in being declared “not guilty by reason of insanity”, then the result is treatment in a mental hospital.
- A 17 year old boy is playing with his neighbor and ends up bludgeoning him to death with a rock because he thought he was a “goblin from the underworld”. Throughout his defense he insists that he did the right thing. His defense attorney is able to convince the jury that he is not guilty by reason of insanity.
15. False Accusation
In certain cases like domestic violence, people are improperly charged with a crime they did not commit based on the false accusation of their partner. Sometimes the accuser will inflict harm on themselves and blame the accused. Even if there are no injuries, the police will take the accuser’s statements very seriously in most cases. In such cases, it’s vital for the defendant to get a proper defense lawyer.
- A couple is fighting at home and, in the heat of the moment, the girlfriend calls the police on her boyfriend in order to win the fight. She even goes so far as to hit her arm on the edge of the table to bruise herself in order to send her boyfriend to jail. Her plan works and the boyfriend goes to jail with a felony domestic battery charge.
See More Common Criminal Defenses
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Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Criminal Defense Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of criminal cases.