29 October, 2021

Hundreds of practitioners look into the types of criminal defenses that attorneys use to defend their clients’ innocence. If you’re knowledgeable about criminal proceedings, you might be aware that these defenses start long before a trial.

types of criminal defenses used in criminal trials

Six Major Types of Criminal Defenses Used in Criminal Trials

What are the four major criminal law defenses? A legal practitioner typically answers with:

  • proof of innocence,
  • constitutional violations,
  • self-defense, and
  • a plea of insanity.

However, there are extensive avenues to explore regarding the types of criminal defenses used in criminal trials. Here are six types of defenses to a criminal charge seen in Washington’s courtrooms.

#1 Affirmative Defense

An affirmative defense emphasizes that there isn’t enough evidence to prove that the defendant’s crimes took place or assert their guilt. You may concede that you are guilty of the charges but present a valid reason that excuses or justifies your crimes. Affirmative defenses are popular where it seems indisputable that a defendant is guilty of an illegal action.

What are the major criminal law defenses that apply in more obscure cases like crimes under coercion, though?

#2 Coercion and Duress

If you become an unwilling participant in a crime under the threat of death or serious physical harm, it is possible to escape liability. An active threat will nullify your agency and consent. The criminal charge should then be against the person or organization responsible for the crime, satisfying four criteria:

  • you must be under an inescapable threat of death or physical harm
  • the threat you face must exceed the harm you cause
  • you must show that you didn’t walk into the situation
  • a threat should be through no fault of your own

Coercion and duress never justify murder, even if you save more lives than you take.

#3 Abandonment and Withdrawal

If a defendant didn’t complete a crime because of a change of heart, abandonment and withdrawal defense:

  • informs the authorities of the crime before or as it happens
  • proves you stopped by choice, not because you were going to get caught
  • shows good faith by preventing co-conspirators from completing the crime
  • proves you cut off contact with others involved in the act

#4 Self-Defense

General self-defense is the use of sufficient force to stop an imminent threat, but different states uphold various rules about the details. You have to prove:

  • there was an imminent threat of physical harm
  • you did not act on a desire to retaliate
  • the force was necessary to counteract or remove the threat

#5 Defense of Others

If you harm someone while protecting others, you have to prove:

  • the person under threat would have acted in a similar fashion
  • you used the necessary amount of force to remove the threat

#6 Violations of Constitutional Rights

Leyba Defense PLLC may suggest the Violations of Constitutional Rights defense when law enforcement played a nefarious role in your indictment, including:

  • unlawful search and seizure
  • violating Miranda rights around self-incrimination
  • coercing you into confession

However, this defense cannot stand if the judge thinks illegally acquired evidence would still emerge under a legal search.

Contact Our Top-Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!

If you need trial support or would like to know more about the types of defenses in criminal law, seek professional advice from Leyba Defense PLLC.

Call us at 206-953-2145 today for a free quote and exercise your rights with the right types of criminal defenses.