Excuse Defenses, Justification Defenses, and Other Criminal Defense Strategies
When you are facing a criminal charge, you should always work with a criminal defense lawyer to fight it. Although you might think you are facing a guaranteed conviction, this is often not the case. There are several different legal strategies your lawyer can employ on your behalf to demonstrate to the court that you were not guilty or, that despite being guilty, you should not be subject to the most severe penalties for your charge because of the circumstances of your case.
Excuse defenses and justification defenses are two types of defense strategy that can be used to fight a criminal charge. Others include a lack of evidence to support the charge and demonstrating that the defendant was not actually the person who committed the offense for which he or she was charged.
What is an Excuse Defense?
An excuse defense is a legal defense strategy that involves an admission of guilt alongside justification for the court to find the defendant not guilty because of his or her lack of criminal intent or a factor about the defendant or the case that renders him or her unable to be responsible for the results of his or her action, such as his or her age, mental competence, or automatism. Automatism refers to actions performed without conscious thought to do so.
Examples of excuse defenses include:
- Involuntary due to drug or alcohol use;
- Misrepresentation on the part of another party, such as an adult facing a statutory rape charge claiming that he or she was made to believe the teenage victim was of legal age to consent to sex;
- A reasonable misunderstanding of facts about the incident;
- The defendant committed the offense while under duress or due to coercion;
- Reduced capacity to understand one’s actions due to mental illness; and
- Entrapment by law enforcement.
Using a Justification Defense
Justification defenses are defense strategies that, like excuse defenses, admit guilt. However, instead of demonstrating to the court that the defendant should not be found guilty because of his or her relative lack of understanding of the offense, a justification strategy offers a reason why the defendant had to take the action he or she took. Examples of justification defenses include:
- Self defense;
- Acting to prevent a crime from being committed;
- A reasonable misunderstanding of the facts surrounding the event;
- Protecting others from harm; and
- Defending personal property.
Other Defense Strategies to Employ to Fight your Charge
Sometimes, the most effective legal strategy for a defendant is the lack of evidence tying him or her to the crime. When the defendant suffered a civil rights violation or evidence used against him or her is inadmissible, this too can be part of his or her defense strategy.
Work with an Experienced Naperville Criminal Defense Attorney=
If you are facing a criminal charge, discuss all your possible defense options with an experienced Naperville criminal defense lawyer to develop a customized strategy for your case. To get started, contact our team at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to schedule your initial consultation in our office.