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  • Writer's pictureNilima

Criminal Defense – An Overview

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

The last thing that most people would want to deal with is trouble with the law. Being accused of a crime can turn your life upside down in all the wrong places. Sadly, if you cannot get yourself the appropriate criminal defense, you can either end up in jail or having your reputation marred badly even if your case gets dismissed.

Criminal defense law is the safeguard that our justice system provides for individuals who have been charged with one or more crimes. After all, a person is deemed innocent until proven guilty, right? This ensures that there is a balance between the power exercised by the government and the privileges of the citizens to justify themselves.

The Defenses at Court

The main focus of criminal defense law is to find evidence that will invalidate the accusations made against the defendant, especially on the intention of the person to commit the crime. If the alibi cannot get one out of the case, it will at least lessen the severity of his/her offenses. These may be one or more of these defenses:

· Insanity: The intention to commit the crime will be ruled out if the person is proven to have a mental disorder. He/she needs to be proven to have the inability to understand the law or the wrongfulness of the deed.

· Intoxication: Taking or being given a substance that overrides your consciousness and judgment like drugs, especially against your will, is a defense that can negate the charges. Intoxication is proven to cause a person to spiral out of control, therefore causing one to commit something that he/she would never do if he/she is in the right frame of mind.

· Duress: While it may not be used for grave crimes such as murder and treason, this criminal defense can be used in many charges. This alibi is when a person has been forced to commit an unlawful deed. It must be proven that the accused has been threatened to do the act.

· Mistake: The accused committed something wrong to do something right. For instance, the person attacked the intruder who tried to harm him. This is often a part of self-defense.

· Necessity: The individual committed the act to prevent something worse from happening like enteringprivate property so that he can extinguish a fire.

· Legal Duty: Embodied in the “Good Samaritan” Law, this type of criminal defense pertains to causing harm to someone or damage to property in good faith so he/she can help. For example, you tackled a criminal that is being chased by the police officers and that person gets injured in the process. You cannot be charged because the act was to help the authorities do their job.

· Consent: Although the act resulted to harm to the plaintiff and/or damage to property, the accuser has given his/her consent to the defendant to commit the deed.

Criminal defense laws are generally similar. However, you have to bear in mind that the application and implementation of these laws vary by country and state. You need to know what are the terms and conditions in the place where the case will be heard. On your own, it may be hard to comprehend the complexities of the law and the justice system. So the next best thing to do is to enlist the services of a highly recommended criminal defense lawyer.

The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney

You will need a good lawyer when going to a court battle. You must hire the best lawyer if you are being tried as the accused. Criminal defense can be challenging, especially that the other party will want the person behind bars, or paying a huge fine at the very least. You need someone experienced and adept to make the odds in your favor if you are the defendant.

There are various types of cases under the criminal defense law. It can be theft, fraud, embezzlement, domestic violence, sex crimes, or murder. Reading all these crimes, you will know that on your own, it would be hard to prove your innocence since these are serious accusations. You need a reliable lawyer to help you deal with stuff like the ones mentioned below:

· Applying for bail: The lawyer needs to get approval from the court to get the client out on bail and to reduce it to the lowest amount possible. Getting the individual out of jail while the trial is still pending is a priority.

· Negotiation of settlement: In many cases, and only when the law warrants, the court will try to let the two parties arrive at an amicable settlement instead of pursuing the trial. The attorney of the accused needs to make sure that whatever his client has to give to settle the matter is fair and just. The lawyer will as well ensure to obtain documents like an affidavit of desistance after a settlement has been made.

· Plea Bargaining: A good criminal defense lawyer can make sure the case does not reach the trial stage. This is through the settlement mentioned above and strategies related to plea bargaining. This can either be making the prosecutor’s job extremely difficult that he will choose to let go of the case or by presenting the client as truly remorseful and cooperative that the prosecutor will end up being convinced that the accused deserves a merciful and tolerant sentence.

· Providing a Convincing Defense: If all else fails and the trial proceeds, the criminal defense attorney needs to present all the alibis that will prove the accused innocent based on the evidence gathered by both parties. He/she needs to convince the jury and/or the judge that the person has been wrongly accused.

· Appealing the Case: If the defendant is found guilty, the lawyer will work on a retrial that can reverse the verdict or minimize the sentence.

Hiring a Reliable Criminal Defense Lawyer

There is a big space to fill when one is defending a suspect, especially if the proofs are pointing to him/her. With the wider media coverage that we have right now due to technological advances and social media, proving one’s innocence can be a tremendous job, especially that public opinion can influence the judge or jury. Make sure the lawyer has these qualities:

· The lawyer specializes in criminal defense law and has been practicing in that territory for some time now. These ensure he/she has an in-depth knowledge of the pervading law in that state or country and is experienced in such cases.

· He/she owns or is connected with a reputable law firm.

· In terms of court battles, this specific lawyer has had many victories.

· While being wise and witty, the attorney is charismatic and knows his/her ways with the judges and the jury.

· The best criminal defense attorney have a reliable team that can help gather proofs that will further negate the accusations against the defendant.

· While being tough in court, the criminal defense lawyer is empathic and supportive to the client.

One main reason why criminal defense laws and the justice system are in place is to ensure that no one is wrongly accused. These provisions plus the aid of a trusted criminal defense lawyer can prove that one is indeed innocent.

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