Many may consider it an unappreciated task, but criminal defense attorneys mount the most effective defense of their clients irrespective of the crime. Be it a minor offense to mass murder; the job is to bring the person’s constitutional right to a fair trial.
Your lawyer will use various arguments to protect your rights and to make the prosecution prove its case.
In a criminal case, the strategy plays a vital role. If the defense strategy is not strong enough, it may lead to a long-term prison term or a considerable amount in fine. On the other hand, a well-thought defense strategy results in a lesser and bearable sentence like community service. A criminal defense lawyer develops the strategy after evaluating all the available evidence collected by the prosecution. Hearing the defendant’s version of the alleged crime is critical too.
Before the lawyer starts the planning, he meets the defendant only then the final strategy is chalked out for use in a court of law. The purpose of the strategy is to defend the case and ensure a satisfactory judgement of the court.
A good strategy of a defense lawyers will have the following items:
- In line with the evidence: For instance, if the defendant’s fingerprints were found at the crime scene, then there should be a convincing explanation for this.
- Developing sympathy: The idea is to gain the sympathy of the judge or the jury. The defendant’s version of the incident may reflect that all was attempted to avoid criminal activity.
- A trustworthy explanation: A convincing and consistent story should back the claims made in the court by the defendant.
Defense strategy for your criminal case
If you didn’t commit the crime, then your attorney may adopt any of these three defenses:
- Presumption of innocence- It means that the prosecution needs to prove the guilt of the defendant. You are innocent until proven guilty.
- Reasonable doubt: Here, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The attorney argues that the assumption of the offense is not sufficient for a conviction.
- Alibi: Alibi defense is about proving that the defendant was not at the scene of the crime or at the time of the crime.
Common and useful affirmative defenses
- Self-defense: More often used in charges of assault or homicide, the claim is that the defendant assaulted or killed the plaintiff in self-defense.
- Coercion or/and duress: The arguments establish that defendant was forced to commit a crime because of a threat with unlawful force. A mere threat or unlawful force may be sufficient to satisfy the coercion defense.
- Under the influence: Intoxication by alcohol or drugs makes mental faculties impaired, and it can be an excellent argument in the court. In such circumstances, the court will not hold responsible for the crimes. In fact, in some instances, it also negates the element of a crime.
- Entrapment: When the law enforcement agency or even the government pushes an individual to commit a crime, it can be argued in court in favour of the defendant. However, it is generally challenging to prove.
- Insanity: This strategy is based on the fact that the punishment for a crime is justified only in instances where is the defendant is capable of controlling the behaviour and has a clear understanding of right or wrong.
When a criminal defense attorney starts building a strategy, they will evaluate the reliability factor of the witnesses of the defense as well as the prosecution, and the community attitude towards the crime. In the process, the lawyer will also coach the defendant to strengthen the defense strategy further.