This attorney defends his client in court who has been charged with criminal activity ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony. If he is convicted, his client could pay a fine, do community service, spend years in prison, or even receive the death penalty. The criminal defense attorney’s job is to get their client acquitted or to get them the lightest sentence possible. To accomplish this, criminal defense attorneys may use various defenses.
Affirmative criminal defense
Some criminal defense attorneys will try to minimize the evidence for the prosecution by showing that it is not true. In this defense, the attorney, along with his client, produce evidence in support of the defense. For example, if the defendant is charged with first degree murder, meaning the client planned the murder before it happened, he may choose to provide an alibi witness. This is someone who testifies that the defendant could not have committed the crime and gives them an alibi for the time the murder was committed.
This defense made popular by movies and television shows. Unfortunately, it is a defense that is not often used or often successful. When criminal defense attorneys use this defense, they claim that their client committed the crime but did not know that what he had done was wrong. To use this defense successfully, the client must have a serious defect or mental illness at the time he committed the crime. It can be risky to rely on this defense because the client is admitting to the crime, but if the jury doesn’t think the client is insane, they may find the client guilty and give a harsher sentence than they might have if they hadn’t. used this defense.
coercion and duress
This is an affirmative criminal defense used by attorneys who claim that their client was compelled to commit the crime because they were threatened with unlawful force. Force does not actually have to occur, the threat alone may be enough to satisfy this form of defense. This threat does not have to be against your client. It could be against another person like a family member. This defense cannot be invoked if your client’s reckless actions put him or her in the situation that caused the harshness.
General criminal defenses
• Self Defense – This states that your client’s actions would be considered criminal if the act was not necessary to defend themselves.
• Status of Limitations – This is when criminal defense attorneys declare that the amount of time the prosecution has to charge their client with the crime has elapsed, so the charges should be dropped.
• Consent: You acknowledge that you committed the crime but the victim consented.