Types of Defenses to Criminal Charges

Defenses to Criminal Charges

A person who has been charged with a criminal offense appears in court. If he or she pleads “not guilty,” the trial officially begins. In order to convict the accused, the prosecutor must prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The court gives the defendant an opportunity to present a defense. However, the final decision rests in the hands of the judge or the jury. Here are some common defenses against criminal charges:

 
  1. Presumption of innocence
    According to the law, people accused of a crime are legally presumed to be innocent. This principle requires the prosecutor to prove the criminal defendant’s guilt. Due to the presumption of innocence, the defendant does not need to argue the case, present any witnesses, or do anything to prove innocence. If the prosecutor can’t convince the jury that the defendant is guilty, he or she goes free.
  2.  
  3. Proof beyond reasonable doubt
    Because of the serious consequences of a criminal conviction, a prosecutor must prove unequivocal guilt. In other words, the prosecutor must convince a judge or jury that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If a reasonable doubt exists relative to one or more elements of the crime that has been charged, the defendant can argue the case. If doubt remains or the ‘burden of proof’ has not been met, the defendant is given the benefit of the doubt and cleared of the charge.
  4.  
  5. The alibi defense
    In this defense, the defendant attempts to prove that he or she was somewhere other than the scene of the crime at the time the crime allegedly occurred. It seeks to prove that the defendant is innocent. For example, if the defendant was accused of committing a burglary at a certain date or time, the evidence to support the alibi might consist of family testimony and other evidence proving that he or she was at a different place.
  6.  
  7. Self-defense
    Self-defense is about the right to protect oneself or others from physical harm by using reasonable force or defensive force. It means the person doesn’t necessarily have to wait for the attack in order to act in self-defense. However, the force used should be reasonable under the circumstances. This type of defense is commonly used by defendants who have been accused of violent crimes, such as battery, assault with a deadly weapon or murder. The defendant admits violence, but attributes the crime to the other person’s threatening or violent acts. The core issues in most self-defense cases are:
  8.  
    • Who was the aggressor?
    • Where did the incident take place?
    • Did the defendant have a duty to retreat before using force?
    • Was the defendant’s belief that self-defense was necessary reasonable?
    • Was the force used by the defendant reasonable?
     
  9. Insanity defense
    In this defense, the defendant admits the offense, but seeks to absolve himself or herself from blame on the grounds of insanity. It is based on the principle that punishment is justified only when one is able to control one’s behavior and has the capacity to understand that one has committed a crime. This defense prevents people who cannot fully function in society from being criminally punished. An insanity defense case involves complex procedures and various tests to determine the truth of the claim.
  10.  
  11. Intoxication defense
    This defense depends on whether the intoxication was voluntary or involuntary, and whether the intent in question was clear and strong enough to merit a criminal charge. Involuntary intoxication can be a defense to criminal charges if the person was tricked or forced into consuming drugs or alcohol. Generally, voluntary intoxication does not excuse criminal conduct. However, some states have an exception to this rule. The defendant can argue that he or she was too drunk or high to have formed the intent to commit the crime. Specific intent can only be used as a partial defense in a case. It can be used to raise reasonable doubt about specific intent in a crime.
  12.  
  13. The defense of entrapment
    Entrapment occurs when the government or the law enforcement officers persuade a person to commit a crime by actually placing the idea in their mind. For example, the police may use overbearing tactics or coercion to induce someone to commit a crime. However, entrapment can be difficult to prove when a defendant has a prior related conviction. In addition, the defendant may be found guilty even if a government agent suggested or helped commit the crime if a judge or jury believes that he or she had the inclination to commit the crime.

Need a strong criminal defense? Contact The Law Offices of Joel Silberman, LLC

The Law Offices of Joel Silberman, LLC are dedicated to fighting for individuals who are facing Federal, State or Municipal charges. We will defend you and your loved ones against all types of violent crime charges. Call us today at 201-420-1913 or email us at joel@joelsilbermanlaw.com.

Discretions of a Criminal Lawyer

Lawyer, judge and criminal

Criminal Lawyers, also known as criminal defense lawyers, defend individuals, organizations and entities that have been charged with a crime. They are responsible for providing the defendant with legal advice, counsel and representation during a criminal trial. Many criminal defense lawyers become involved at a very early stage in the criminal justice process, providing legal services even before criminal charges have been formally filed against a suspect. Many criminal lawyers also continue to work with a defendant even after trial to help them with post-trial legal issues like parole and probation.

Every criminal defense case is unique. The manner in which the criminal defendant acts and answers the questions that the prosecutor poses is important. Moreover, it is crucial for clients to tell their lawyer the complete truth. The best criminal defense strategy lies in the defendant and the criminal lawyer laying out a story that is based on the truth. Even if the defendant is guilty, if he or she honestly confides the truth to the lawyer, the lawyer can present the story in a better light. This could result in a plea bargain, or to the defendant being found guilty on a lesser charge.

Unfortunately, fearing exposure, many clients are reluctant to admit the whole story to their lawyers. They are not able to trust their lawyer fully, doubting if that will be to their advantage. There are certain discretions that a criminal lawyer has. Here are some facts and reasons why you can and should confide in your criminal lawyer:

  • If a defendant confesses to his lawyer that he or she actually committed the crime, the lawyer does not have to disclose the client’s confession of guilt to the court or to anyone else. The lawyer can advise the client to change his or her plea to guilty, but the defendant has immunity from self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Moral and professional ethics bind lawyers from revealing statements made in confidence.
  • It is the responsibility of the criminal lawyer to advocate for the accused by doing everything within the law to clear the latter of the charges leveled against him or her. But, at the same time, it is not the lawyer’s responsibility to determine whether the client is guilty or innocent. Only a judge or jury can decide that.
  • The lawyer will advise the client on the various decisions the client must make about how the case will be handled. The lawyer will make sure that the client fully understands the consequences of all the decisions. But in the end, the client decides and bears all the consequences.
  • A criminal lawyer who is a private practitioner has the right to decline or accept a particular case. However, the accused has a right to legal counsel under the constitution. A court-appointed lawyer will represent the accused if he or she is not able to pay for legal representation.

Every lawyer is sworn to uphold a code of personal responsibility requiring them to represent the client to the best of their abilities within the parameters of the law.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, you can contact The Law Offices of Joel Silberman, LLC. Call our toll free no. at 201-420-1913 or email us at Joel@joelsilbermanlaw.com.
We represent every case with commitment and dedication.

Defend Traffic Tickets with the Help of a Traffic Ticket Lawyer

Traffic tickets will result in hefty fines and may cause points to be lost on your driving record. If there are numerous traffic tickets on your driving record, then you may be subject to a suspension of driving privileges for a significant time.

If you have been issued a traffic ticket, it may be difficult to decide whether or not you should pay the fine. A traffic ticket lawyer evaluates all your options and helps you decide whether or not to go to court. He will develop a strong defense strategy that will put you in a good position to have the ticket successfully overturned. Therefore, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced traffic ticket lawyer to deal with court proceedings.

How a traffic ticket lawyer can help you

  • A traffic ticket attorney can gather all the necessary evidence needed to prove your innocence.
  • He has the knowledge and background to effectively work with the court proceedings.
  • He will appropriately prepare you for court proceedings.
  • He will talk to the prosecuting attorney and effectively negotiate with him to significantly reduce the charges imposed on you.
  • Your chances of winning a case increase tremendously if you hire an attorney rather than handling it yourself.

Traffic offense lawyer in Jersey City, NJ

If you are issued traffic tickets in NJ and wish to avoid hefty fines and not lose your driving privileges, contact Jersey City, NJ traffic offenses attorney Mr. Joel Silberman. He has extensive experience in dealing with traffic related offenses. Call at 201-420-1913 for a free consultation with the attorney.

Is Sexting Against the Law?

What is Sexting?

Sexting is defined as the act of transferring sexually explicit messages to one or many people through cell phone text messaging or any other electrical device used for messaging. The messages usually contain illicit photographs or video links depicting the person sending them.

Is Sexting Against the Law?

If the person sending or receiving the message is under the legal age of adulthood, then they may be convicted of possession or distribution of child pornography. New Jersey’s teen sexting law was enacted in 2012. Since its enactment, New Jersey has created a diversion program that may be used instead of criminal prosecution for teens who are charged with child pornography as a result of sexting. If the judge feels that it is suitable, children who create, distribute, or exhibit images that qualify as child pornography may be ordered to participate in an educational program or counseling. This program addresses the penalties of sexting instead of being illegally accused.

Adults Sexting in New Jersey

An adult who receives or shares any kind of sexual image of a child under the age of 18 can be charged with possessing or sending child pornography. An adult who sends a nude or sexual photo of him or herself to a child could also be convicted of a crime. And if an adult shares any kind of sexual photos of another adult without his or her permission, he could be charged with harassment or sued in civil court for causing emotional distress or other damage.

Sex Crime Defense Attorney in New Jersey

If you are accused of sexting and need legal help, then contact our New Jersey criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Joel Silberman, LLC. We focus exclusively on criminal defense. At the Law Offices of Joel Silberman no case is too big or too small. Call us today at 201-420-1913. We serve in Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey.

Back to top

Submit your Feedback

      Sending...
x