The attorneys at CES Law have over two decades of experience in criminal law.
To convict a criminal defendant, the prosecutor must prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As part of this process, the defendant is given an opportunity to present a defense. There are many types of defenses, from “I didn’t do it” to “I did it, but …” Here are some of the most common defenses that criminal defense attorneys can raise on behalf of their clients:
“The Defendant Didn’t Do It” Defenses
Defendants often try to avoid punishment by claiming they did not commit the act in question; yes, innocent people do get charged with crimes. Furthermore, someone might have committed a crime but has been charged with the wrong offense. These are all issues that need to be discussed in detail with a licensed and experienced criminal attorney. Colosimo, Ewing, and Smith, LLC offer consultation services to discuss your defense options and outlook.
The following are all possible defenses for the innocent or wrongly accused:
The Presumption of Innocence
All people accused of a crime are legally presumed to be innocent until they are convicted, either in a trial or as a result of pleading guilty. This presumption means not only that the prosecutor must convince the jury or judge of the defendant’s guilt, but also that the defendant need not say or do anything in his own defense. A defendant may simply remain silent, not present any witnesses, and argue that the prosecutor failed to prove his or her case. If the prosecutor can’t convince the jury or judge that the defendant is guilty, the defendant goes free.
The prosecutor must convince a judge or jury of a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This heavy burden of proof in criminal cases means that judges and jurors are supposed to resolve all reasonable doubts about the defendant’s guilt in favor of the defendant. With such a high standard imposed on the prosecutor, a defendant’s most common defense is to argue that reasonable doubt of guilt exists.
An alibi defense consists of evidence that a defendant was somewhere other than the scene of the crime at the time it was committed. For example, assume that Freddie is accused of committing a burglary on Elm Street at midnight on Friday, September 13. Freddie’s alibi defense might consist of testimony that at the time of the burglary, that Freddie was watching a movie at the Maple Street Cinema. A ticket stub from the theater, theater surveillance cameras, as well as testimony from Freddie’s friends who attended the movie with Freddie, might all be introduced as evidence at trial. Colosimo, Ewing, and Smith, LLC are incredibly experienced in criminal law; we not only know what questions to ask but where to find the answers that provide our clients the best defense possible.
“The Defendant Did It, But” Defenses
Sometimes, a defendant can avoid punishment even if the prosecutor shows that that the defendant did, without a doubt, commit the act in question. There is a certain need for proof for defendants in these cases, making the need for an expert attorney, like Attorney Colosimo, even more important. These defenses must prove and provide a justifiable reason, including the following possibilities:
Self-defense is a defense commonly asserted by someone charged with a crime of violence, such as a battery (striking someone), assault with a deadly weapon, or murder. The defendant admits that he or she did in fact commit the crime, but claims that it was justified by the other person’s threatening actions. The core issues in most self-defense cases are:
Who was the aggressor?
Was the defendant’s belief that self-defense was necessary a reasonable one?
If so, was the force used by the defendant also reasonable?
Self-defense is rooted in the belief that people should be allowed to protect themselves from physical harm. This means that a person does not have to wait until he or she is actually struck to act in self-defense. If a reasonable person in the same circumstances would think that he or she is about to be physically attacked, that person has the right to strike first and prevent the attack. However, an act of self-defense cannot use more force than is reasonable; someone who uses too much force may be guilty of a crime. A trained and experienced attorney working diligently on your behalf can literally be the difference between incarceration and freedom. Contact Colosimo, Ewing, and Smith, LLC for a consultation to discuss these complex legal issues.
Reason of Insanity
The insanity defense is based on the principle that punishment is justified only if the defendant is capable of controlling his or her behavior and understanding that what he or she has done is wrong. Because some people suffering from a mental disorder are not capable of knowing or choosing right from wrong, the insanity defense prevents them from being criminally punished. However, this is a very complex area of the law. Professional experts are needed to evaluate and testify.
Defendants found not guilty by reason of insanity are not automatically set free. They are usually confined to a mental institution until their sanity is established. These defendants can spend more time in a mental institution than they would have spent in prison, had they been convicted. An insanity defense normally rests on the testimony of a psychiatrist, who testifies after examining the defendant, his or her history, and the facts of the case. Courts appoint psychiatrists at government expense to assist poor defendants who cannot afford to hire their own psychiatrists.
Once a defendant raises his or her sanity as a defense, he or she must submit to psychological tests conducted at the behest of the prosecution. This can be a very painful and involved experience, one that many defendants choose to forgo rather than rely on this defense.
Entrapment occurs when the government induces a person to commit a crime and then tries to punish the person for committing it. However, if a judge or jury believes that a suspect was predisposed to commit the crime anyway, the suspect may be found guilty even if a government agent suggested the crime and helped the defendant to commit it. Entrapment defenses are therefore especially difficult for defendants with prior convictions for the same type of crime.
These are just a few examples of the variety of defenses and issues that may arise in any criminal case. Since criminal convictions carry numerous risks, from incarceration to fines and public humiliation, it is essential to retain an excellent attorney with the precise experience to handle the many intricacies of criminal law. Colosimo, Ewing, and Smith, LLC have the services, team, training, and talent to advise any client in any criminal law situation; contact us for a consultation today.