Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal charges are common in America, with a vast number of possible criminal charges. Although every case and its attendant circumstances are different, there are some defenses commonly used by those charged with a crime in America.
In order to convict someone of a crime, the prosecution needs to prove that the person charged with the crime is the same person who committed the crime. A common defense is asserting the defense of mistaken identity. This is often used when there are no eyewitnesses to the actual crime, or if the witnesses did not have a good opportunity to observe the individual committing the crime.
This defense is often successful when the identity of the perpetrator is hidden in some way. This could be due to sunglasses, a hat, a mask, or any other number of clothing or accessories which could hide or change someone’s identity. If the person committing a crime can’t be identified, then it is certainly possible that the person charged is wrongly accused.
This defense can also be successful when the witness or witnesses to a crime did not have a good opportunity to observe the person’s identity. The classic example is when an eyewitness is far away from the scene of the crime when it occurred. Other factors in this defense include bad lighting, bad eyesight without corrective glasses, or bad weather affecting visibility. Perhaps someone was looking through a dirty window rather than directly at someone committing a crime. Maybe the witness had been drinking or using drugs making their identification unreliable. In any of these cases mistaken identity could be a winning strategy used by a criminal defense attorney to prove the innocence of an accused.
Accidents and Unintentional Acts
Many crimes require a specific state of mind in order to be convicted. For example, some statutes require that a person acts intentionally to be convicted of a crime. In cases like these a common defense is to assert that the accused did not have that culpable mental state when they committed the crime. If the person charged committed the crime by accident, or unintentionally, then even though they admit to the crime, they may be able to successfully mount a defense. If a crime requires that the defendant knew what they were doing, proof that their actions were unintentional will require a not guilty verdict. A person cannot be convicted of a crime if they did not act with the required mental state.
Another winning strategy is an alibi defense. Simply put, an alibi means that a person has evidence that they were somewhere else at the time of the crime. Proof of an alibi can come through many different avenues. Perhaps someone has a witness who will testify that they were with the accused at the time of the offense. For this defense to be effective the more evidence that can be presented, the better. Prosecutors and juries will be very hesitant to believe an alibi witness, especially a friend or family member. However, if the witness is supported by physical evidence such as a receipt confirming that the accused was nowhere near the crime scene, then this can be an effective defense strategy.
Finally, in any case involving an assault, self defense must be considered as a possible defense. Police have an unfortunate tendency to charge the winner of a fight with assault. This is often the case even when the loser swings first. If an accused can show that they were protecting themselves or others, and their use of force was appropriate given that other person’s actions, then they can and should be found not guilty.
If you’re charged with a crime, speak to an experienced lawyer in your state like the attorneys at Hebets & McCallin, don’t miss out on your best defense!