What Should You do When Defending Yourself Against a Criminal Charge?
Updated on February 5, 2021 | by Austin
If you have been charged with criminal liability, the matter can get more complicated than you may think. You have to understand the crime you have been charged with, along with its elements and your possible defenses.
However, remember that you don’t need defense against each element. It takes only a reasonable doubt for any of the jurors to overturn the decision. Only a qualified and experienced criminal lawyer like the one available at https://criminal-lawyer.com.au/ can sort it out.
Although each case has different elements and situations, there are two approaches you can take to defend yourself against a criminal charge: first is proving that you didn’t do it. The second is accepting that you did it, but you shouldn’t be held responsible for it. Have a look at how the two approaches work.
Approach 1: I didn’t do It
The most common method to defend against a criminal charge is to prove that you didn’t do the crime. When you follow this tactic, the burden shifts to the prosecutor to prove that you did the offense. Here are the core elements of this approach:
1. Innocent Until Proven Guilty
One primary principle of the Australian legal system is that you are presumed innocent until your guilt is proved. The prosecutor does all the work to prove that, while you can sit back and watch them do all the work.
2. Beyond Reasonable Doubt
The prosecutors have to prove to the jury that your guilt has no reasonable doubt. If any reasonable doubt becomes evident, the prosecutor fails, and you are proved innocent. Due to this reason, you must raise some reasonable doubt about the allegations made by the prosecutor.
3. Prove Alibi
Alibi is a defense strategy in which the defendant shows to the jury that he/she could not have done the crime because they were not even present at the place. By proving that you were at some other place with some other person, you create reasonable doubt.
Approach 2: I Did It, but Shouldn’t Hold Me Responsible
Even if you have committed the crime, there could have been mitigating circumstances for which you may be excused for your action. When you follow this tactic, the burden lies upon you to show why you did the act and why you must be excused for it. Here are some defense types for which you may be excused for your criminal act.
If you have been charged for some physical violence, then self-defense is a common defense to follow. You have to flip the story and show that instead of causing the harm, you were the victim, and you acted to protect yourself from the assaulter.
2. Insanity Defense
In many cases, defendants use insanity as a successful defense system. You have to prove that you had a mental illness when committing the crime, and you were not conscious of what you were doing. If you prove that, you will be sent to a psychiatric care centre, not to prison. To prove your insanity, you have to rely on a psychiatrist’s testimony and undergo lengthy psychiatric tests that can be humiliating, time-consuming, and painful.
3. Under Influence Defence
Like an insanity defense, you can prove that you were intoxicated or drugged and were not mentally stable at the time of the crime. This defense system will only lower your crime to a lesser punishment.
Now that you have understood that there are so many facets involved in defending yourself against a criminal charge. As an individual, you cannot understand the full ramifications of all charges and all defenses to a criminal charge without a reputable criminal defense lawyer like the one available at https://criminal-lawyer.com.au/. So, if you are charged with a criminal case, it’s wise to seek the help of an attorney as soon as possible.