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Understanding criminal defense options and strategies

When residents in New York are accused of a crime, one of the first things they consider is how they will get out of it. Making a strong defense against criminal charges is an important step. Not only could this help them reduce the charges and penalties they could face, but it could also result in dismissed charges and avoided consequences.

Because every criminal case is different, a defendant may choose a criminal defense strategy over another one available to them, depending on which one is better suited to their needs. While there are several types of defense option, defenses usually fall under one of two categories: I didn't do it or I did do it, but I shouldn't be held responsible for it.

There are three common strategies used under the first category. First, an accused individual may claim that he is innocent. This is not always ideal because there is already a legal presumption that he is innocent until proven guilty. If a defendant uses this option, he will usually plead the fifth, remain silent or refrain from sharing a shred of evidence.

The second strategy in the first category is showing there is reasonable doubt. Because a prosecutor must demonstrate that there is no reasonable doubt that a defendant committed a crime, if doubt is shown, a defendant could beat the charges. Lastly, the defendant could use an alibi as a defense strategy. This method could help demonstrate that they could not have done it.

With regards to the second category, a defendant may choose to admit that he committed the act, but claim that for some reason he should not be held liable. Common defenses in this category include self-defense, insanity defense, under the influence defense, and entrapment defense.

While accused individuals commonly use these legal strategies, it is important that a defendant fully understands his situation so he can take appropriate steps. Seeking legal guidance could help him better navigate the criminal defense process and better protect his rights and interests.

Source: FindLaw, "Defending Yourself Against a Criminal Charge," accessed Apr. 13, 2015

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