Types of Criminal Defense
When you’re charged with an criminal offense in Texas, it’s important to remember that you are innocent until you are proven guilty. Prosecutors must demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that you have actually committed an offense before you can be found guilty. This applies whether you are tried before a jury or elect for a bench trial which is held before a judge only. There are various arguments that can be used to challenge evidence provided by prosecutors.
Standard Criminal Defense
Some defendants simply were not in the area the offense was committed in, didn’t commit the offense or were defending themselves.
We’ll discuss the charges against you as well as where you were at the time of the offense, what was occurring at the time of the offense and whether or not you were acting to defend yourself. These are considered fairly standard criminal defense methods and in many cases, they may be sufficient to work with the prosecutor before going to court and have the charges reduced or dismissed.
Affirmative Defenses: Sometimes the Best Option
If you have no alibi and were clearly at the scene of an offense, it may be possible to reach a deal based on an affirmative defense. There are many instances where you could still be exonerated because of these defenses. Some of these include:
- Coercion involved in offense– if you were forced to commit an offense with the threat of bodily injury to you or a family member, you may be able to use this as a defense. Remember this may involve finding another party to confirm the event. There are some scenarios where this defense is not feasible; for example, if you were committing robbery because your drug dealer was threatening you or a family member.
- Renunciation of a offense– if you were to participate in or commit a robbery with another person, and decided at the last minute to back out and notify the authorities you may still be arrested. However, your attorney may be able to show evidence that can prove you abandoned these plans and this would be considered an affirmative defense.
More Complicated Defenses
There are other defenses we may explore which are more complex but may still apply in your criminal case. For example:
- Self-defense– if you are facing an assault charge, we may be able to prove that while you did commit assault, you were in fact defending yourself. If we can prove the assault you are charged with was to avoid bodily injury to yourself or another, we may be able to secure a not guilty finding.
- Consent to offense– another defense that is often applicable in cases of assault is consent. Typically, this may be used in a sexual assault charge, sexting offense or other types of offense. In effect, our goal would be to prove the victim was a willing participant.
- Pleading insanity– a temporary or permanent mental illness that renders one incapable of knowing their actions were considered an offense at the time they committed the offense is a possible defense. Keep in mind, this type of defense is usually only effective if the person has had a history of mental illness. However, there are other cases, such as revenge for an offense that impacted a loved one where this may be an effective defense.
- Statute of limitations defense– depending on the severity of your offense and when it was committed, it may be possible that the statute of limitations has expired. For some misdemeanor and minor felony charges, the limit on prosecutions is three years.
Keep in mind, under Texas criminal statutes, with a few exceptions, “a person does not commit an offense unless he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence engages in conduct as the definition of the offense requires.” As you can see, the prosecutor has a great deal of work to do to prove your guilt.