There Are Several Defenses Available to Criminal Charges in Michigan

A person accused of a felony or misdemeanor may or may not be guilty of a criminal offense. A solid, credible defense can result in a dismissal of all charges or, in the alternative, a not guilty verdict.

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An accused person can avoid a criminal conviction by asserting a valid defense.

There are defenses for a person accused of a crime. The accused might avoid criminal charges if they hire an experienced defense attorney before a warrant gets issued. A skilled attorney can plant a defense early, persuasively, and legitimately. Even after appearing in court, presenting 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 a criminal defense attorney can assert at trial. A valid defense means a not guilty verdict.

If the defendant did not intend to commit a specific intent crime, they are 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 crime scene at the time of the alleged offense. The defendant does not have to prove they were somewhere else. If, after carefully considering all the evidence, the jury has a reasonable doubt about whether the defendant was present during the commission of the crime, the jury must find them not guilty.

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Duress Defense In Support of Dismissal of All Charges

In this defense, the defendant says they are not guilty because someone else’s threatening behavior made them commit the alleged offense. The pressure from an imminent threat is called the “defense of duress.”  The defendant is not guilty if they 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 they 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 That Can Result in Dismissal if Proven

Most crimes require a “guilty mind.” A “guilty mind” means that the person must have intended to do something illegal or 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 they did. For example, a person who shoots a gun toward someone would be innocent of assault if they did not know the person was there or did not intend to aim in the direction of that person. For specific intent crimes, like forgery, the defendant must not only intend to present false information, they must have planned to defraud the victim. Specific intent crimes are rare, and the defendant may be guilty of such a crime even if they had no general or specific intent.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

What defense may apply to you or your loved one? How can charges get dismissed?

An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to analyze an alleged offense, the background of the accused, and the situation’s circumstances to determine what defenses may be available. A great criminal defense lawyer can present the defense most persuasively and credibly if one or more defenses are available. A credible, persuasive defense can result in the dismissal of all charges. 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.  

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has criminal defense lawyers 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