Criminal defense is a strategic argument that attempts to challenge the validity and sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence in a criminal case. It is essentially the legal protection provided to individuals who are accused of committing a crime. The goal of a criminal defense strategy is to diminish the prosecutor’s case and potentially reduce or eliminate criminal charges, or to reduce the potential sentence.
Criminal defense attorneys represent defendants who are accused of crimes, from misdemeanors to serious felonies. These legal professionals are responsible for gathering evidence, researching case law, drafting legal documents, negotiating with the prosecution, and arguing in court on behalf of their clients. They also counsel their clients on possible outcomes and legal strategies, and help them understand their rights and the legal process.
There are various types of criminal defenses, including but not limited to:
Alibi: In this defense, the defendant claims that they were somewhere else when the crime occurred and therefore could not have committed the crime.
Self-Defense: This is claimed when the defendant admits to committing the act, but argues that it was necessary to protect themselves from immediate harm.
Insanity Defense: The defendant admits the criminal act but claims that they were mentally ill at the time of the crime and did not understand the nature or wrongfulness of their actions.
Duress: In this defense, the defendant admits to the act but asserts they were forced or threatened by someone else to do it.
Entrapment: The defendant claims that they were induced by a public official—usually an undercover agent or police officer—to commit a crime that they would not otherwise have committed.