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What are 4 Types of Criminal Defenses? Criminal Law

What are 4 Types of Criminal Defenses?

7 months ago by Justin M. Schiks
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As a defendant facing criminal charges, you have the right to defend yourself against the allegations. The prosecutor must prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt, and a defense strategy might challenge or limit the prosecutor’s case, provide legal justification for your conduct, and more. 

Presenting persuasive legal defenses in criminal court is highly complicated, and there is a lot at stake. You always want representation from a Roseville, MN criminal defense lawyer to fight your charges. 

Common Defenses in Criminal Cases

Criminal defenses are legal strategies used to challenge or negate the prosecution’s case against a defendant. There are several types of defenses that can be employed in criminal cases:

  • Alibi defense: An alibi defense asserts that the defendant was not present at the scene of the crime when it occurred. This defense relies on evidence, such as witness testimonies, surveillance footage, or documented activities, to prove that the accused had no opportunity to commit the alleged offense.
  • Self-defense: This defense argues that the defendant’s actions were taken in response to a genuine and imminent threat to their safety or the safety of others. It asserts that the defendant’s use of force was necessary to protect themselves from harm. The use of force must be proportionate to the perceived threat.
  • Insanity defense: This defense contends that the defendant, due to a severe mental disorder or illness, lacked the capacity to understand the nature and wrongfulness of their actions at the time of the crime. If successful, this defense may lead to a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, potentially resulting in psychiatric treatment rather than imprisonment.
  • Mistake of fact: This defense asserts that the defendant made an honest and reasonable mistake regarding a fact or circumstance related to the alleged crime. This mistake must be significant enough to undermine the prosecution’s case.

It’s important to note that the availability and effectiveness of these defenses can vary based on jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of each case. Additionally, some defenses may be used in combination to strengthen the defendant’s position.

Other notable defenses include:

  • Entrapment: Argues that law enforcement induced the defendant to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed.
  • Duress or Coercion: Asserts that the defendant committed the crime under extreme pressure or threat of harm.
  • Necessity: Argues that the defendant had no reasonable alternative but to commit the crime to prevent a greater harm.
  • Consent: Claims that the alleged victim willingly and knowingly participated in the act in question.

Selecting the appropriate defense strategy requires a thorough understanding of the specific circumstances of the case and the applicable legal principles. It’s crucial for defendants to consult with experienced criminal defense attorneys who can evaluate the evidence, identify potential defenses, and build a robust case to protect their rights.

Speak with a Roseville, MN, Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately

At JS Defense, PA, we build the defense strategy that is right for every client. You should never wait to speak with our team and learn how we can assist in your criminal case. Contact us for more information. 


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