10 Types of Legal Defenses in Criminal Law

How Can You Defend Yourself In Court If You Have Been Charged With A Crime?

Whether you are the defense lawyer or the person being charged, the first question you will need to answer when preparing your case is what type of defense can we use?

The world we live in is not black and white and our justice system allows for this. You may have to make your case in court despite being innocent. Or you may have to make the case that you were forced into commiting a crime.

When you talk to criminal defense lawyers, they can help you find the right criminal defense that suits your case.

Today, we are going to look at the 10 most common Criminal Defenses.

#1 – Statute Of Limitations

There are a small group of crimes that have a statute of limitations. This means there is a window of time in which the purporator can be charged for committing the crime.

Once this window has closed, no one can be taken to court or charged for the crime.

This is known a procedural defense

#2 – Innocence

This is one of the simplest defenses out there – claiming innocence. This means claiming that you were not the one who committed the crime.

For you to be found guilty, the prosecution must prove completely that you did everything you are accused of, there must be no loose ends.

If they cannot do this, then there is reasonable doubt. You do not have to prove that someone else did the crime, just that you didn’t do it.

#3 – Alibi

Most of us know what an alibi is from cop shows on TV.

If you are making an Alibi as a defense then you need to be able to prove that you were somewhere else while the crime was taking place, therefore you could not have commited it.

#4 – Involuntary Intoxication

This defense means that you are claiming you were not in the state to understand or intentionally do what you did. Because you were in this state you have no intention of committing the crime you did.

Involuntary intoxication defense, means that you are claiming someone else drugged, spiked, or laced you against your will.

#5 – Defense-Of-Others

With this defense you are claiming that you commited the crime you did in order to protect others.

For example, if you stabbed someone to stop them being able to hurt your children, your spouse, or someone else who is not able to defend themselves.

You can claim defense of others even when preventing attacks on people you do not know personally.

#6 – Self Defense

This is similar in a way to the defense above. You commit a crime to protect yourself.

For example, you may have stabbed someone who was trying to rob you. Or you may have hit someone with a baseball bat after they broke into your home.

The key to this defense is to explain why you felt you were in so much danger that you needed to protect yourself. This danger is the difference between assault and battery, and self defense.

#7 – Mistake of Law OR Mistake of Fact

This defense should be used when you were unaware that you were committing a crime.

For example, if you were accused of stealing a motorbike from a family member, but you thought that this family member wanted to give you the motorbike – then this would be a mistake of fact or law

#8 – Constitutional Violations

If you believe that the police did an illegal search of your home for evidence or they illegally took property from you while investigating you – then you can claim your constitutional rights were violated.

The police can make mistakes when doing their job, this can lead to you being tried unfairly.

#9 – Duress or Coercion

This is the defense to use if you were forced into commiting a crime.

For example, someone might have threatened to hurt your children if you did not help them to rob the store you work in.

You will be suggesting that you did not do the crime willingly because you were forced to by someone else. This would then make them liable for the crime.

#10 – Necessity

Finally, if you claim the necessity defense then you are claiming that you commited the crime in order to prevent something worse from happening or to help someone else.

For example, you had to steal a car so that you could get someone who had overdosed to the hospital for they died.

About the author

Saman Iqbal

Saman is a law student. She enjoys writing about tech, politics and the world in general. She's an avid reader and writes fictional prose in her free time.

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