By: Lora Davis
This lawyer defends their client in court who has been charged with a criminal activity that can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. If convicted their client could pay a fine, do community service, serve years in prison, or even receive the death penalty. It is the job of the criminal defense lawyer to either get their client acquitted or get them the lightest sentence possible. To accomplish this, criminal defense lawyers can use several defenses.
Affirmative criminal defense
Some criminal defense lawyers will attempt to minimize the prosecution’s evidence by showing it is not true. In this defense the lawyer, along with their client produce evidence in support of the defense. For example, if the defendant is charged with first-degree murder, which means that the client planned the murder before happened, they 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 that was made popular by movies and television shows. Unfortunately, it is a defense that is not frequently used or often successful. When criminal defense lawyers use this defense it states that their client did commit the crime but did not know what they did was wrong. To use this defense successfully the client will need to have a serious defect or mental illness at the time the crime was done. It can be risky to rely on this defense because the client is admitting to the crime but if the jury does not believe the client is insane they can find you the client guilty and hand-downs a harder sentence than they may have if they had not used this defense.
Coercion and Duress
This is an affirmative criminal defense lawyers used that states that their client was forced to commit the crime due to being threatened with unlawful force. The force does not actually have to happen.. Just the threat can be enough to satisfy this form of defense. This threat does not have to be against their client. It could be against someone else like a family member. This defense cannot be invoked if their client’s reckless actions put them in the situation that caused duress.
General criminal defenses
• Self defense-this states that their client’s actions would be considered criminal if the act was not necessary to defend themselves
• Status of limitations-this is when criminal defense lawyers states that the amount of time the prosecution has to charge their client with the crime has elapsed so the charges have to be dropped.
• Consent-it acknowledges you did commit the crime but the victim consented to it.