Using an Affirmative Criminal Defense
One of the strategies an attorney may discuss with a defendant is the option of using an affirmative criminal defense; when someone is charged with a crime, an affirmative defense is one of the ways he or she can hope to lessen the responsibility or culpability for the acts committed.
In the use of an affirmative criminal defense, a defendant is agreeing to some or all of the elements of the prosecution’s case, but offers an reason or justification to help explain or lessen the culpability of the defendant’s actions.
The types of affirmative defenses available to defendants vary by crime, but some of the most common affirmative criminal defense strategies include the following:
- Alibi: Probably the best affirmative defense you can have is that you were nowhere near the scene of the crime.
- Double Jeopardy: A defendant cannot be tried for the same crime under the same set of facts more than once.
- Duress: Defendant alleges that he participated in the crime charged only because of the (usually physical) threat, force, or pressure of someone else.
- Entrapment: Defendant alleges that a government officer led him to commit a crime that otherwise he would not have committed.
- Self Defense: Defendant inflicted injury or, more likely, death on someone else because of a fear for his own safety or the safety of others; there are very specific parameters to the use of this defense, though, so be sure to check with a criminal defense attorney as to the particulars of your case.
- Statute of Limitations: Some crimes have statute of limitations attached to them, which means that if a prosecution is not brought within a given number of years of the crime, it cannot proceed.
Other common affirmative defenses include intoxication, mental illness/deficiency, and mistake of fact.
If you are interested in learning more about whether any of the above criminal defenses apply in your case, you should contact a local criminal defense attorney for a consultation.