4 Categories Of Defenses In Florida Criminal Cases
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) makes almost 680,000 arrests for criminal charges every year across the state, with more than 50,000 of them occurring in Broward County alone. These individuals face charges ranging from murder and DUI to sex crimes and theft, but there is one thing they have in common: They are ALL able to take advantage of defenses and strategies for fighting the charges. A prosecutor is required to prove every element of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt, and there are numerous ways to create questions in the minds of the jurors.
The specific approach to defending criminal allegations will vary according to the case, but there are four general categories that your Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer may employ to obtain a favorable outcome. They include:
- Innocence: It may seem like a pretty basic concept, but claiming innocence can be tricky because of how you need to present your arguments and evidence. Rarely will an attorney suggest that YOU testify, since taking the stand can put you at risk of incriminating yourself. Instead, you will need a strategy that focuses on other proof that you did not commit the crime. Eye witnesses, expert testimony, and information regarding alibis will be important to this defense.
- Violations of Constitutional Rights: Different forms of police misconduct could serve as the basis for a defense, and you do have civil rights during investigations and prior to an arrest. If officers violate your Fourth Amendment protections by conducting an unlawful search and seizure, all evidence they turn up must be tossed out of court. Other constitutional violations that may support your position include:
- Failure to read Miranda warnings;
- Preventing you from consulting with a lawyer; and
- Not procuring a warrant to conduct a search.
III. Self-Defense: When you face charges related to murder, battery, assault, or other violent crime, you might be able to present evidence of self-defense. This strategy can be risky because you essentially have to admit that you committed the offense, while arguing that your conduct should be excused because you acted in self-defense. Note that your own actions must bear some relationship to the aggressor’s.
- Insanity: Not many individuals can rely on this defense, which requires you to show that you cannot differentiate right from wrong because of a mental condition. Like other defenses, testimony from expert witnesses is crucial – particularly medical professionals who can discuss how a disorder affects judgment.
A South Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Explain Details
Though the details will depend on your unique situation, it is helpful to be familiar with these four general categories of defenses to criminal charges in Florida. Even if the strategy does not result in a dismissal or acquittal at trial, you might be able to leverage these options to work out a plea agreement. For more information on defending criminal allegations, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can set up a consultation at our Fort Lauderdale office to review your circumstances and discuss next steps.