Potential Criminal Defenses

David Lindsey, Attorney at Law

Anyone charged with a crime must appear in court and plead his or her case. In some instances, this means admitting you committed the crime and allowing the judge to give you your sentence. In other cases, you’ll actually be trying to convince the judge and/or jury that you did not commit the crime for which you’ve been accused.

There are several ways to do this.

Your criminal defense is a strategic argument designed to “poke holes” in the validity of what the prosecution is saying about you.

Even if you did the things the prosecution said you did, there are ways to defend yourself, so you should never assume that you are “guilty” and you deserve you punishment. There are certainly instances of this, but a defense attorney can help you build a strong defense that results in a less extreme punishment.

You should never put your fate into the hands of a judge or jury without trying to plead your case, even if you’ve done something wrong. Doing so puts you at risk for facing a punishment that is far more severe than the crime you committed.

What Criminal Defense Options are Available?

The most obvious criminal defense and the one most people assume they’ll be using, is to strike down the prosecution’s case against you. You do this by showing whatever evidence they present is false or misleading. This is known as an affirmative defense.

In order to build a successful affirmative defense, you must present evidence in your favor. For instance, if you are accused of rape, you might call on a witness to testify he or she was with you when the rape occurred. The alibi serves as the defense against the prosecution’s accusations.

Pleading Insanity

Another option for building a criminal defense is to admit to having committed the crime for which you are accused, but stating you did so because you were not of sound mind. This is known as the insanity defense.

If you’re using the insanity defense, you’ll need to present convincing evidence that you were suffering from a mental disease or defect at the time the crime occurred.

Using the insanity defense is risky because in order to convince the jury or judge that you were not of sound mind when the crime occurred, you must admit to having committed the crime.

Coercion and Duress

The coercion and duress defense is another that requires you to admit to the crime, but show that you do not deserve to be punished because you had a reason for what you did. In this case, that reason was that you were under the threat of unlawful force. It can be a threat of force against you or someone else.

For instance, if someone tells you that you must rob a bank in order to prevent your spouse from being murdered, you’d likely be able to use the coercion and duress defense.

It should be noted this defense is not an option if you created the circumstances that put you under duress.


Renunciation, also called the Abandonment and Withdrawal defense, acknowledges you had planned to commit a crime or assist someone in a crime, but decided not to do so. You abandoned the crime.

This defense requires you admit intention, then prove you abandoned that intention. You’ll also need to show that your actions did not contribute to the crime.

For instance, if you and another person were planning a crime and you gathered information and shared it with your accomplice, only to then decide not to participate, you could still be found guilty, unless you notified law enforcement in advance of the crime.


If you are accused of a crime, but your actions were made in an effort to protect yourself, you can argue self-defense. This means that under other circumstances what you did would have been illegal, but because you were under a threat, your actions were only done in an effort to prevent harm.

For more information” about what constitutes self-defense, read this information from Justia.com.


It’s also possible to argue consent. If you are accused of a crime, but the victim consented to the action, you would use this defense. You’re acknowledging you committed the action, but stating that the victim gave you permission to do so.

Every case is different and there are many ways you can defend yourself against criminal charges. Some are unexpected but convince a judge or jury that you do not deserve to be convicted.

If you’ve been accused of a crime, it’s essential you contact a defense attorney to help you build your case. For more information or to discuss your circumstances with an experienced lawyer, contact David Lindsey to schedule a free consultation.

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