Possible Defenses in Criminal Cases – Part I

By November 8, 2018 May 24th, 2019 blog post, Defenses in Criminal Cases

If Charged with A Crime, You Need an Experienced, Passionate Defense Attorney Who Knows All the Possible Defenses, And One Who Is Not Afraid to Vigorously and Aggressively Present These Defenses. You Need an Attorney Who Is Not Afraid to Win.

The law requires that the prosecutor prove each and every element of a crime at trial beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant need not prove anything and need not say anything at all. However, there are times when the defendant wants or needs to introduce evidence in order to establish a defense. In such cases, the defendant must present the defense because the prosecutor is not going to be helping the defendant at trial.

It takes an experienced, seasoned attorney to formulate a viable defense and introduce it over possible prosecutor objections. An experienced lawyer knows what evidence to introduce and how to introduce it.

In this three-part series, we will review for you the following defenses:

Self-Defense (And Why You Need an Attorney To Prove It)

In Michigan, the law allows you to defend yourself or your property against a physical attack if you honestly and reasonably believe such defense is necessary. In addition to being entitled to defend yourself, you also may defend someone else who is in immediate jeopardy of being harmed or killed. There are many rules that have to be followed before a defendant is allowed to argue self-defense. For example, the amount of force used must be reasonable and the defendant must not have created the situation in the first place. There is no duty to retreat from an attack in Michigan and you are legally allowed to stand your ground. There are many other limitations and complexities to self-defense and every case is different. It takes an experienced criminal defense lawyer to analyze and formulate a winning self-defense argument.

The Alibi Defense and Its Requirements

The alibi defense means you could not have committed the crime because you were not present at the scene of the crime at the time of the crime. Obviously, it is critical that you can prove you were not present. Not all proof is admissible in court and the law requires timely notice of this defense to the prosecution. A top-rated, shrewd attorney will be able obtain and organize all evidence of an alibi, and make sure it gets admitted in court in the most persuasive way possible.

Impossibility as a Defense

Impossibility means that for whatever reason, it is impossible for the defendant to have committed the crime. For example, a person that unable to speak could not possibly commit the crime of disorderly conduct for yelling fire in a crowded theater. If the commission of a crime was impossible, the defendant is not guilty.

Defense of Duress to a Criminal Charge

A person may not be guilty of committing a crime if he or she only acted because of a reasonable fear of a legitimate harm. There also must be a lack of an opportunity to escape from the situation. For example, a civilian in a bank who is threatened by an armed bank robber to open a safe would not be guilty because the actions were taken under duress. A person cannot legally claim that he or she took an innocent life because of duress. This can be a very effective defense to a felony or misdemeanor charge; however, it takes a very skilled lawyer to demonstrate this defense in court.

The Defense of Necessity

A person may find it necessary to commit a crime to avoid a greater evil. In other words, a person who commits a crime may not be guilty if it reasonably appeared that there was no other alternative in an emergency situation (that he didn’t create). For example, breaking a pipe in a building is ordinarily be considered malicious destruction of a building; however, if a building was burning and in order to save lives, someone was able to break a pipe to get water and extinguish a flame, this would be considered a necessity and the defendant would not be guilty of any crime.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Criminal Defense Attorneys Specializing in Felony and Misdemeanor Representation

The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on misdemeanor and felony charges in the state of Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing high quality and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client, and we are experts at establishing defenses even in the most complicated cases.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.

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