Criminal Charge Defenses: Guilty Or Not Guilty…

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Not Guilty.

 

The presumption of Innocence

All individuals who are accused of crime are legally presumed innocent until the point of conviction. This presumption means that the prosecution must convince the jury that the defendant is guilty, rather than the defendant having to prove they are innocent. A defendant has the right to remain silent and not present any witnesses, then argue that the prosecution has failed to prove its case. However, in regular practice, defense attorneys often present their own witnesses in order to counteract the government’s case.

Reasonable Doubt

The prosecutor must convince the fact-finder that the defendant is guilty “beyond reasonable doubt.” This requires that the jury, and in some cases the judge, have a moral certainty that the defendant is guilty. With such a high burden of disagreement, defense lawyers must often impose upon the jury that “thinking” the defendant committed a crime isn’t enough proof to actually convict them.

Presenting An Alibi

An alibi defense is simply evidence that the defendant was somewhere other than the scene of the crime during the time that the crime was committed.

 

Guilty, but…

 

Self-Defense

Sometimes an acquittal is the result of a trial even if the defendant is found, without a doubt, guilty. Self-defense is commonly proclaimed by those being charged with violent crimes; i.e. battery, assault with a deadly weapon, or even murder. In this case, the defendant has admitted that he or she did in fact commit the crime, but insists it was justified as an act to counter the other person’s threatening or violent actions. This proclamation is rooted in the belief that people should be allowed to protect themselves if at all threatened. In part, this means that a person who feels threatened doesn’t necessarily have to wait until the point of actually being attacked to act in self-defense.

Insanity Defense

This defense is generally based on the principle that punishment is only justified when the defendant is capable of controlling their behavior and understanding what they have done is wrong. This defense, however, is extremely complex and often requires intensive psychiatric evaluation.

Under The Influence

Defendants who have committed a crime under the influence of drugs or alcohol will sometimes argue that their mental functions were impaired during the act, and therefore should not fully be held accountable for their actions. Generally speaking, however, voluntary intoxication does not excuse criminal conduct. Certain states further require “specific intent,” which the defendant can argue that they were too high or intoxicated to form that intent.

Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when the government provokes an individual to commit a crime that he or she otherwise would not have committed. However, law enforcement officers can give opportunities for defendants to commit crimes without having committed entrapment. This defense is often very hard to prove.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, call Bigda Law for a consultation to review your case. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can be an invaluable asset in your case. We can fully explain the applicable law and protect your constitutional rights. Our Wilkes-Barre and Kingston attorneys have experience in local Courthouses within Lackawanna County and we have successfully handled thousands of criminal matters.