When you’re charged with a criminal offense, it can feel like the world is against you. The prosecution might make bold statements about its ability to convict you, and the penalties that are threatened can leave you fearful of the future. But hope isn’t lost.
After all, even in cases where the evidence against you seems insurmountable, you might have effective criminal defense arguments available to you. You simply have to know your legal options and how best to exploit them to your advantage. With that in mind, let’s look at some of those criminal defense strategies that may be available to you.
Common defense strategies that you might be able to use
Depending on the type of allegations that you’re facing and the facts of your case, you may have one or more defense options that are best suited to protect your interests. Amongst those strategies are the following:
- Evidence suppression: This is a powerful tool in your criminal defense if you can utilize it. Here, you essentially argue that certain pieces of evidence that are being presented by the prosecution were either illegally obtained or are so unreliable that they shouldn’t be used against you. Evidence collected after an illegal traffic stop, for example, can probably be suppressed. If you can effectively block this evidence from being used against you, then you may be able to devastate the prosecution’s case.
- Self-defense: If the allegations against you include some form of violence, then self-defense might be a viable argument for you. Just keep in mind that you can’t avail yourself of this defense if you were the initial aggressor, and your use of force had to be reasonable in light of the facts at the time of the event.
- Alibi: Timing is everything in a criminal case. If the prosecution can place you at the scene of the crime at the time that it occurred, then you might struggle to escape conviction. If, on the other hand, you can show that you were nowhere near the scene of the crime when the event in question occurred, then you’re better positioned to raise reasonable doubt as to your guilt.
- Lack of evidence: Remember, the burden of proof rests on the prosecution, which means that you can’t be convicted unless they can prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In many instances, the best defense is merely to argue that the prosecution has failed to meet its burden. You can do this in a number of ways, from attacking witness credibility to presenting contradictory evidence.
- False confession: Even if you admitted to the crime, you may be able to prevent your own statements from being used against you. This is especially true if your rights were violated, such as when the police subject you to custodial interrogation without reading you your Miranda rights.
Picking the defense strategies that are right for you
Although facing criminal charges is stressful, you should take comfort knowing that you might have some defense options on your side.