When someone gets charged with a criminal offense, they have the right to defend themselves in court. Depending on the circumstances, there are a number of strategies that can help someone prove that they didn’t commit the crime in question.
An alibi can prove that you weren’t present at the location of a crime. There might be evidence of someone else’s involvement that exonerates you. For other people, defense strategies will require more nuance.
If there is physical evidence, witnesses or cameras that show someone committing a crime, that might seem like a scenario where a person cannot possibly defend themselves. Thankfully, your right to a defense doesn’t end just because you did take a certain action. An affirmative defense could be a way for you to avoid a criminal conviction and the impact it might have on your future.
What is an affirmative defense?
As the name implies, an affirmative defense involves the defendant agreeing that they did commit certain acts. However, they provide an alternate explanation for the events that changes the perception of their actions.
One of the most common forms of affirmative defense involves self-defense claims. A person charged with assault for homicide could demonstrate to the courts that they acted out of a need to protect themselves or another person and potentially avoid a conviction because they did not intend to commit a crime but only to prevent one. Such claims are subject to analysis based on the reasonableness of their fear and how appropriate the level of force was for the scenario.
Another form of affirmative defense might include proving that you took certain actions because another person drugged you without your consent and influenced your behavior. Entrapment, insanity and duress can also all lead to an affirmative defense.
Explore everything before you plead guilty
Some people experience intense despair when they realize there is evidence that they engaged in a behavior that others view as a crime. Don’t let despair or fear trick you into acting against your own self-interest.
Defending yourself against allegations of criminal actions often requires support and emotional fortitude for what can be a difficult and draining process. Discussing the scenario that led to your arrest will give you a better idea of whether an affirmative defense is your best option.