There are actually several common defenses that are regularly used to fight off first degree murder charges.
Criminal defense attorneys like the ones at our law firm sometimes get the question, "How could you defend a cold-hearted murderer?" The truth is, the best defense lawyers play an important role in make sure that Constitutional rights of the accused are not violated. Even if a man has killed, he still deserves a fair trial that carefully tests the evidence and he also deserves to not be punished more than necessary. As we discussed in previous posts, thissuch a man deserves to be punished appropriately - this can mean that the man may be guilty of second degree murder, or manslaughter, or even nothing at all. Take a look at some of the ways a murder charge may be questioned in court:
- Actual Innocence: The most common and obvious defense is one that proves the defendant did not perpetrate the killing. There are several ways of going about this defense: an experienced defense lawyer will have to powerfully challenge weaknesses in the prosecution's evidence or help the defendant demonstrate a convincing alibi. In all unlawful killing cases, the burden of proof is on the prosecution's side which means that it must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the killing.
- Self-Defense or Defense of Others: Even if the prosecution can prove beyond a doubt that the defendant committed the killing, it must also prove that the killing was unlawful. One of the ways a killing may be lawful is if the defendant can successfully argue that the killing only happened because he or she used reasonable force in self defense to a serious threat. Of course, it is important that the defendant be sure to prove that the force used was proportionate to the perceived danger.
- Accidents and Defense of Provocation: A killing can be downgraded to a second degree murder or even voluntary or involuntary manslaughter depending on the circumstances. In a previous post, we explained that manslaughter is very different from murder. An experienced defense attorney can help a defendant prove that the killing was the result of negligence or that it occurred in the heat of the moment.
Of course, each case is unique and the best way to learn what options are available to somebody facing criminal charges is to consult with asuccessful criminal defense attorney. The Kyle Law Firm offers a free consultation to anybody facing criminal charges in San Marcos, New Braunfels, and surrounding areas. Contact us online if you'd like to schedule a completely free consultation with some of the best defense lawyers in the country.