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What Are The Defenses You Can Use In A Criminal Trial?

Being accused of a crime can impact the rest of your life, especially if you are found guilty. A criminal record can stop you from attaining goals set for your career and the standing you have in your community. There are only a few defenses that you can use when you stand trial for a criminal act. Choosing the right one is imperative to getting your life -- and your reputation -- back.

It is the prosecution’s obligation to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which sometimes can sound more difficult than it is. Anyone can tell a good story or paint a situation in a way that can make you appear to be at fault. That is why you need to have a criminal defense that will tell your side in the appropriate way and ensure that you are cleared of all charges. If you are accused of a crime, the defenses you can use in court are:

I didn’t do it

It is the prosecution’s job to prove to a jury that you are guilty of a crime. The onus of guilt befalls the prosecution. In fact, as a defendant, you don’t have to have a defense at all. Although it’s probably not recommended, if you are innocent and the prosecution can’t prove otherwise, you are under no obligation to do or say anything in your defense. If the prosecution can’t prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then your defense need not be anything besides “I didn’t do it.”

They can’t prove it

In the same respect, since it is the prosecution’s job to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, if they can’t prove it then you can’t be found guilty. If the prosecution doesn’t have the proof needed at trial to show the court that there was absolutely no way that you didn’t do something, it makes no difference whether you did or not. Your defense is simply that: they can’t prove it. If there is no evidence and a case can’t be made through any circumstantial evidence then your defense is “you can’t prove it.”

An alibi

An alibi is a way that you prove your innocence through having proof that you couldn’t have done it. If a defendant was witnessed somewhere else at the time of a crime, there is no way they could be in two places at one time. If you have one or more people who can attest that you couldn’t have possibly been where the crime was committed, then you have an alibi that makes you not guilty.

I did it, but it wasn’t my fault

If you are guilty of an action or crime, there are instances where even if you did it you had a cause. Self-defense is a defense that you can use to avoid criminal prosecution. In self-defense, you have to prove that what you did was to protect yourself against undue harm or even death. If you weren’t the one to initiate a crime and you were simply defending yourself and your wellbeing, then you may be found not guilty because you didn’t have a choice. Self-defense is tantamount to self-preservation, which the law sees as justifiable in some cases.

Insanity defense

The insanity defense may be in the movies a lot but it isn’t an easy one. The insanity defense states that you didn’t know right from wrong at the time of the crime. Extremely difficult to prove, even if you are found not guilty using this defense, it typically doesn’t lead to your freedom. Many who win a case using this defense end up spending their lives in mental institutions or with other sanctions. Defendants with severely low IQs sometimes try this defense, with their lawyer arguing that their client didn’t have the intelligence to understand that what they were doing was wrong.


Entrapment is another defense that you can use to defend yourself against criminal prosecution. Entrapment is when someone “sets you up” to commit a crime. Things such as buying and selling drugs from an undercover agent and prostitution usually fall under this category. The defense is that you wouldn’t have engaged in an illegal act if you weren’t solicited to do it to begin with.

If you are accused of a crime, there are only a few ways to prove your innocence and some defenses that will be admissible in court. If you believe that you are innocent, or even if you know you are not, the best way to fight prosecution is to hire a criminal attorney with the experience necessary to find the best defense to prove that you’re not guilty.