Lancaster, CA Proven Criminal Lawyers on Mounting a Defense
There are a limited number of defenses that you can give once the prosecution in a case has proven that you did, in fact, commit the act that they claim you committed. Here, Lancaster, CA proven criminal lawyers have compiled a list of the most common and most useful defenses for an established act.
Accident: Most criminal offenses in the California Penal code are intentional, meaning if you did it by accident, it’s not actually a crime. For example, if you accidentally walk out of a store forgetting that there’s an unpaid-for toaster on the bottom shelf of your cart, and you can prove it was an accident, you can’t be charged with theft.
Duress: Similarly, many criminal offenses cannot be prosecuted if you can prove that someone made you do it by making a tangible and immediate threat to you or a loved one. “Steal the toaster or I’ll shoot your daughter” is a valid defense against the charge of theft.
Entrapment: If you commit an offense because a law enforcement offers harasses, threatens, or tricks you into do it, you cannot be held accountable in most cases. This is often the case in ‘sting’-type scenarios when an undercover cop attempts to catch someone in the act of committing a crime and feels like they’re about to fail. “
Insanity: Insanity is particularly difficult to prove in California. In our state, you are only legally insane if you are too mentally compromised to understand what you have done, or you are literally unable to tell the difference between right and wrong. In some cases, the insanity defense is worse than a guilty verdict, because it can result in a long involuntary stay at a psychiatric facility.
Mistake of Fact: Some offenses aren’t accidental, because you meant to commit the act – you just thought that you were doing something different. For example, if you pick up someone else’s laptop on your way out of the coffee shop, it’s not theft if you believed it was your own (and you promptly return it upon learning your mistake, naturally.)
Necessity: When you have the choice between committing a low-level crime and suffering a meaningful loss, in certain situations the crime can be absolved by proving the necessity. For example, if you’re drunk and someone tries to rape you, it’s not a crime to get into your car and drive away – because the presence of the rapist made driving under the influence a necessity.
Self-Defense: If you use an appropriate amount of force to defend yourself (or another person), and it’s clear that escape wasn’t an option, the assault you committed can be set aside.
Involuntary Intoxication: If someone drugs you against your will and you commit a crime because you are too intoxicated to be conscious of your behavior, that crime can be set aside. This is most common for charges like Indecent Exposure and Driving Under the Influence.
Unconsiousness: If you commit a crime while you are actually unconscious – such as sleepwalkers or people under the side effects of one of a few prescription medicines – you cannot be held liable for the acts you committed while in that state.
Are there other ways you can defend an act you committed? Of course – but this is a fairly rigorous list and will account for the vast majority of successfully-defended criminal accusations.