Many defendants who find themselves in a criminal trial may admit that they committed the act, but for some reason, they should not be held responsible for doing such. Here are some of the possibilities in which this defense could work:
“I did it, but I shouldn’t be held responsible”
This is a very common defense strategy being employed when the criminal charge is related to any form of physical violence, such as battery, assault or homicide. Here, the defendant reverses the story – and presents that rather than being the pursuer or aggressor, he or she is actually the victim and only acted to protect him or herself from being harmed.
Self-defense has always been existent for a long time, and is based on the idea that every person has the right to protect him or herself from being injured physically. However, proving this is rather challenging as the defendant will have to prove that his or her acts were necessary and reasonable, and that there was a reasonable belief that the harm was present. For instance, saying that you were threatened by an unarmed man who has a much smaller built than you – and you shot him as a result, is unlikely one to be considered an act of self defense.
Defendants rarely use this defense, as a jurors and judges skeptical of such claim because of its abstract nature. Furthermore, it is rather a challenge for the defendants to prove.
This line of defense comes from the notion that in criminal law, there is an intent or mental element. What this means is that a criminal charge requires that the defendant have the mental state to intend to do the act. If the defendant is found to have a mental illness, then it means that they were not in the required mental state that the criminal charge requires. Also, this stands by the idea that it is more recommended to send a mentally ill person to a psychiatric facility instead of prison. Thus, even if the defendant is found guilty, he will not be sent to prison but won’t be freed either.
Insanity, being an abstract concept is defined by courts as the inability to distinguish what is right from what is wrong. Hence, a defendant who pleads insanity as a defense would need a psychiatrist’s testimony, and will also need to undergo psychiatric testing which can be both humiliating and painful.
Under the influence defense
In a manner similar to the insanity defense, this type of defense claims that they were under the influence of drugs when the act was committed, and is therefore not in the mental state required by a criminal charge. In simpler terms, this means that the defendant says that he or she is too high to have an idea what they were doing.
If you are in need of an excellent criminal defense lawyer, contact The Kyle Law Firm to schedule your free and no-hassle consultation