At Kyle Law Firm, we specialize in different kinds of
criminal defense cases, with either the client filing a case or the client being filed
against. We work with our whole team of lawyers to come up with the best
defense possible for all our clients who chose to work with us. While
most of the clients who approach us wish to file criminal cases, we also
get our fair share of clients who have a criminal case filed against them.
Kinds of defenses
There are many kinds of defenses used in court today, particularly for
criminal cases. Defenses in these kinds of cases are focused on negating
the elements of a crime committed, typically intent, or justification
of the said crime. Here are some samples of common criminal defenses.
Insanity is a common plea made by defendants who have been diagnosed with
a mental disorder. This defense negates the intent of the crime performed.
Criminal insanity can be defined as a lack of understanding about what
is “wrong” or inability to conform to the law. If the judge
accepts the plea of insanity, the defendant is not brought to jail but
a mental hospital instead, for treatment.
Automatism is used to define a state where the defendant could not control
his or her actions consciousness. This can be caused by physical or mental
illness where the person falls into a dream-like state and has no recollection
of performing the crime. Partial loss of consciousness cannot be considered
automatism, such as falling asleep while driving, as well as crimes committed
while under voluntary drug use.
Intoxication is a difficult plea to use in defense, particularly if the
defendant was voluntarily intoxicated. However, intoxication is known
to be used to lower the sentence, such as manslaughter from
murder. The problem with intoxication being used as a defense is that it is not
automatism where the defendant cannot control his or her actions, he or
she still can to an extent. Using intoxication only removes one element
of a crime, the denial of
mens rea or “guilty mind”.
Mistake of fact
Using mistakes as a reason of defense is typically done with another defense.
This is seen in cases where the defendant assaults a person he or she
mistook for someone else (e.g. the person though she was assaulting a
criminal). The use of this kind of defense justifies the use of the other
defense. Again, this kind of defense removes the element of intent.
Necessity or Lesser Harm
The term “the lesser evil” can be used to describe this kind
of defense. In cases where a criminal act had to occur to prevent a greater
or bigger crime is justifiable in the court of law, if and only if the
crime committed was a lesser degree than what could’ve happened.
This is commonly seen in self-defense cases where the person had to exert
force to defend his or herself from an attacker.