The basics of criminal defense

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Criminal defense is the art of using argumentation to disprove a prosecutor’s case and the evidence they are aiming to use against a defendant. If you have been accused of criminal wrongdoing, the prosecution has the burden of proving you committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt and must present evidence to that end.

Whether your case is dropped, is resolved pre-trial, or is ultimately tried in court, your defense lawyer represents your interests. They will use every effort to disprove the allegations, expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and work to instill doubt about your guilt in the eyes of the judge and/or jurors, if your case gets to a trial phase.

Criminal defense categories

There are more than 20 different types of criminal defense in the U.S. The following are the top 4 major categories:

  • Claiming innocence. This is typically the first thing that comes to mind when discussing criminal defense. The defense calls witnesses to offer alibis and testimony in your favor; the prosecution has to establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Self-defense. When someone who has been charged with assault, battery or murder argues that they took the necessary precautions to save their own or another’s health and well-being, they are claiming that they acted in self-defense. It’s possible that witnesses may be asked to attest to your (excellent) character if this strategy applies to your situation.
  • Constitutional violations. These occur when your most fundamental rights as an American citizen are violated in relation to the offense. This includes unlawful search and seizure, failing to issue a Miranda warning at the moment of arrest and questioning you without your lawyer present if you asked for one.
  • Pleas based on insanity must unequivocally show that the defendant was insane when they committed the offense. Your defense attorney must demonstrate that your mental condition or severe stress prevented you from knowing what is right or wrong in that moment, if this defense applies to you.

When attempting to prove your innocence, seeking guidance from someone who understands criminal law is essential. As previously said, there are many approaches that a knowledgeable legal advisor might use on your behalf. You two will choose which approach best fits your situation.