Defending yourself in criminal court is an important matter that requires attention and diligence. A well-crafted criminal defense allows a defendant to avoid harsh punishments and/or a conviction altogether.
For instance, an attorney could argue that an accuser has a motive to lie by presenting evidence such as witness testimony or video footage. The defense can also punch holes in the prosecution’s case by proving an alibi.
New York law recognizes that individuals have the right to defend themselves and others using physical force. This right extends to defending property as well. It can even include deadly force in certain circumstances.
For an individual to use self-defense, they must genuinely believe that their actions are necessary to protect themselves from immediate danger or harm. This belief must be objectively reasonable from their point of view and the amount of force used must be proportionate to the threat they face.
A criminal defense lawyer can help prove your case by bringing in eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage and forensic evidence. Your attorney may also argue that you were acting in self-defense or defense of another person.
Some states allow individuals to claim imperfect self-defense when they provoked the violence in question. This can reduce the severity of a crime, but it will not excuse it entirely. It is important to work with an experienced criminal defense team if you intend to use this defense.
In the context of criminal defense, apparent consent is a way to argue that you were not guilty of a crime because you believed your actions were ok. This type of defense is much harder to prove than direct consent.
In order for this defense to work, you must have been able to clearly communicate your intent and receive confirmation from the other party that your actions are ok. However, this does not always happen. For instance, a person can’t use this defense for sexual offenses, situations that result in serious injury or death and certain sporting events.
Additionally, a person cannot knowingly consent to an action if they are too young or mentally incompetent, intoxicated or unconscious. Also, a person can’t use this type of defense for crimes if they were coerced into the situation. For example, a mafia boss may threaten to harm you or your family if you don’t do what they want.
Entrapment is an affirmative defense that requires defendants to offer evidence that police induced them to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. This evidence may include recordings of conversations with law enforcement, as well as witness testimony. For example, Jim could argue that he was entrapped when an undercover agent, who he thought was his friend Snitch, enticed him to participate in a liquor store robbery because he needed money for drugs and to join a street gang.
A judge or jury will decide whether entrapment occurred by using an objective or subjective standard. Under the subjective test, a judge or jury will assess whether the defendant had an interest in the crime and was predisposed to engage in it before encountering law enforcement agents. If the government used extreme and overly persuasive tactics to induce a criminal act, this will help support a successful entrapment defense. However, this is a high standard to meet.
Abandonment is a legal defense that can prevent criminal charges when it is successfully utilized. This is a defense that excuses defendants for crimes they attempted but didn’t complete, and it can be used for both actus reus and mens rea violations. It is only valid if the defendant can prove they abandoned their original intent before the crime was committed, however.
For example, if someone is charged with burglary but can prove they voluntarily abandoned their intention to break into the property before breaking in and never took any substantial step towards fulfilling their original intent, the charge should be dismissed. The same would apply for a conspiracy case if the individual could prove that they renounced their involvement and communicated this to co-conspirators before any commission of the primary objective of the conspiracy.
While this is a difficult defence to establish, the lawyers of Mass Tsang carefully consider all aspects of every case when crafting robust defence strategies for our Greater Toronto Area clients. Contact us to discuss your specific case.