If you have been accused of a violent crime, one of the first things you need to do is figure out your defense options. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to sit back and assume that everything will fall in place on its own.
Criminal defense is a formal presentation a defendant makes with the goal of challenging the validity and credibility of the prosecution’s case. To have their way, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you committed the offense in question. In other words, they must prove every element of the crime you are standing trial for.
Fortunately, there are a number of defense options you can exercise when you find yourself facing charges. Here are some of them:
You can plead innocence
This is, perhaps, one of the simplest defenses you can cite if you have been accused of a crime. Keep in mind that the “burden of proof” is on the prosecution to convince the judge or the jury that you committed the crime. You may be the victim of mistaken identity or police overreach.
You do not have to do anything to prove your innocence during a criminal trial. However, you may testify or produce relevant evidence in support of your claim.
You can plead self-defense
Self-defense is a valid plea if you have been accused of crimes such as battery, assault or murder. Self-defense happens when you use reasonable force to counter violent action, or the threat of violent action, from the victim. To plead self-defense, the amount of force must be proportionate to the threat posed by the victim. An example of self-defense would be the use of a weapon against a rapist or a burglar who is in the act of committing a crime.
A criminal charge is a big deal. Find out how you can defend yourself and safeguard your rights if you have been charged with a crime.