Common Defenses a Criminal Defense Attorney Might Use

If you go to a criminal defense attorney for your case, there are a few defenses that you might hear tossed around. Even if you are probably guilty of the crime in question, there are ways to get a lessened sentence, or even get your sentence revoked altogether. The answer lies in these defenses.

Affirmative Defenses

Sometimes, the best way to strike down the case is to prove the prosecution’s evidence is false. However, this may not work if the evidence is, in fact, true. Affirmative defenses go with the idea that the evidence, at least some of it, is accurate. Instead of Karen Read trying to combat the evidence, the lawyer will seek to find his or her own evidence to prove that the defendant could not have been the guilty party. An example of this would be a situation where the defendant could produce a strong alibi that places him somewhere other than the scene of the crime when the crime took place.


Most people have probably heard of cases on television shows that got dismissed because the defendant pleaded insanity. However, while this is a popular thing to portray on the screen, it does not happen in court as often as you might think. To use this strategy, you must be able to prove that you did commit the crime, but insanity made it so that you did not know what you did was wrong.

A criminal defense attorney will only use this if there is true evidence that the defendant has a severe mental disorder, and that the disorder was in place at the time of the crime. This will require medical and psychological proof. However, the risk here is that you will be found guilty of the crime if the court dismisses the insanity plea, because you are basically saying that yes, you did commit the crime.


Sometimes, a lawyer will try to prove that you were forced to commit the crime you committed. Use of unlawful force or the threat of unlawful force, such as if someone tells you they will hurt your children if you do not do something, can be grounds for a less serious penalty after a crime. However, in order to use this strategy, your lawyer needs to be certain that your reckless actions did not put you in a position where this threat came to be. For instance, if you are threatened by someone that you have been doing unscrupulous business dealings with, then the plea of coercion may not be acceptable to the judge.

Abandonment and Withdrawal

If you are facing the accusation of being an accomplice, your criminal defense attorney may take the abandonment and withdrawal approach. This tries to prove that you intended to commit or help with the crime, but then decided to stop your involvement at the last minute. You have to be able to prove that you abandoned your plans to use this strategy. Also, your actions prior to withdrawal from the plans cannot be guilty in any way to use this strategy.


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