When charged with a criminal offense, there are a few options for defending against those charges and the penalties they may carry. Since the prosecutor is responsible for proving that the defendant is without a question guilty, the defendant is allowed the chance to find a way to clear their charges. When responding to charges, the defendant can take one of two routes: they can either claim to be innocent and argue against the charges—or they can admit to committing the crime and present a valid reason as to why they did so.
If the defendant chooses to plead not guilty, they are considered to be just that until the prosecutor is able to prove they are guilty. This means that the prosecutor must be able to convince both the judge and jury that there is not even a question as to whether or not the defendant is guilty. If the prosecutor is unable to do so, the defendant will be dropped of all charges or charged of a lesser crime. Another way that defendants can prove innocence is by presenting an alibi. If the defendant is able to prove that they were somewhere else rather than the crime scene at the time it was taken place, then there is no way the defendant can be convicted guilty.
Even when a defendant admits to committing the crime, there are ways they can get around punishment for the act. One possible way is if the defendant is being charged with a crime involving some form of violent act upon another, their criminal defense lawyer can claim they were acting out of self-defense. In this situation, the defendant argues that in order to protect themselves from the other party, they had to resort to violence. If the defendant ever had reason to believe they were facing threats and a potential attack, then they were justified to protect themselves by striking first and counteracting the attack.
Another option in defending against criminal charges is to plead insanity. This is a more difficult option than self-defense because it can be bias; what some people view as a non-normative state of mind may come off as normal to other people. If the defendant is able to show that their mental state does not permit them from being able to correctly decipher right from wrong, they may be excused from their charges.
Similar to pleading mentally unstable, if the defendant committed the crime while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can argue that they were not in the right state of mind. This is also more difficult to argue because when the defendant decided to use drugs or alcohol, they were willingly subjecting themselves to potential changes in normative behavior and mental state. It is hard to argue that the crime was committed because the defendant was not at the right state of mind when they put themselves there in the first place. If you are facing criminal charges in Arizona, contact a Phoenix criminal defense
attorney from our firm to find out how we can help defend you against the possibility