An accused person can avoid a criminal conviction by asserting a valid defense.
There are defenses for a person accused of a crime. Criminal charges may be avoided altogether if a person accused of committing a crime hires experienced defense counsel before a warrant gets issued if a defense is presented early, persuasively, and legitimately. Even after appearing in court, the presentation of a genuine defense in a felony or misdemeanor case can result in an outright dismissal of all charges. In those cases where the prosecutor will not dismiss the charges, there are effective defenses that can be asserted by a criminal defense attorney at trial. A valid defense means a not guilty verdict.
Examples of Defenses Recognized in Michigan Courts – Not Guilty is Possible!
Accident as Defense to Specific Intent Crime
If the defendant did not intend to commit a specific intent crime, he is not guilty. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to commit the crime and that the act was not an accident.
Lack of Presence (Alibi Defense)
The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was actually at the scene of the crime when the alleged offense was committed. The defendant does not have to prove he was somewhere else. If, after carefully considering all the evidence, the jury has a reasonable doubt about whether the defendant was present when the alleged crime was committed, the jury must find him not guilty.
In this defense, the defendant says he is not guilty because someone else’s threatening behavior made him commit the alleged offense. The pressure from an imminent threat is called the “defense of duress.” The defendant is not guilty if he committed the crime under duress. Under the law, there was duress if:
- the threatening behavior would have made a reasonable person fear death or serious bodily harm,
- the defendant was afraid of death or serious bodily harm,
- the defendant had this fear at the time he acted,
- the defendant committed the act to avoid the threatened harm, and
- the situation did not arise because of the defendant’s negligence.
The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not acting under duress. If the prosecutor fails to prove that the defendant was not acting under duress, the jury must find the defendant not guilty.
Lack of Intent is a Winning Defense
Most crimes require a “guilty mind.” A “guilty mind” means that the person must have intended to do something illegal, or he must have intended a particular result. There are three types of crimes, those requiring general intent, those requiring specific intent, and strict liability crimes. For general intent crimes, the person must have intended to do what he did. For example, a person who shoots a gun towards someone would be innocent of assault if he did not know the person was there or if he did not intend to aim in the direction of that person. For specific intent crimes, like forgery, the defendant must not only intended to present false information, he must also intend to defraud the victim. Specific intent crimes are rare, and the defendant may be guilty of such a crime even if he had no general or specific intent.
What defense may apply to you or your loved one?
An experienced criminal defense attorney will have the ability to analyze an alleged offense, the background of the accused, and the circumstances of the situation to determine what defenses may be available. If one or more defenses are available, a great criminal defense lawyer will be able to present the defense most persuasively and credibly. The highly experienced and proficient criminal defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., will gladly give you a free consultation to determine what legal defenses may be available to you or your loved one. Please call us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form, and an experienced attorney will promptly contact you.
We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has criminal defense lawyer’s that can help you in the following locations:
- Oakland County Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Wayne County Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Livingston County Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Macomb County Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Washtenaw County Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Genesee County Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Lenawee County Criminal Defense Attorneys
- St. Clair County Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Kent County Criminal Defense Attorneys
- All other counties in the State of Michigan