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How do you defend yourself against a criminal charge?

Being charged with a crime can be very frightening, especially for those who have had little to no contact with the legal system before. There are several defenses that may be used to fight a criminal charge, with the most common listed below. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any defense will be effective but having experienced legal representation is the first step.

When someone presents a defense to a criminal charge, it usually falls into one of two charges. The first is that the defendant did not commit the offense. The second is that the defendant did commit the offense but should not be held responsible.

The prosecution must prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This does not mean that the defendant must prove that he or she is not guilty. It means that the prosecutor must prove that no reasonable doubt exists as to whether you committed the crime.

One of the most common ways that a defendant can ensure there is reasonable doubt is by proving he or she was somewhere else when the crime was committed. This is called an alibi.

There are some defendants who acknowledge committing the crime, but maintain they are not responsible for their actions. Some of these defenses include entrapment, being under the influence, insanity and self-defense. Entrapment is a defense used when law enforcement will push you into committing an offense that you normally otherwise wouldn't have committed. The defense of being under the influence means that you were impaired by drugs and/or alcohol when the offense was committed. An insanity defense is difficult to prove but requires that a defendant prove he or she did not have the mental state to commit the crime. Finally, self-defense means proving that the defendant committed the crime because of a reasonable belief that he or she was in danger of being harmed.

As you can see, there are several options for criminal defense; however, these should be discussed with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney. He or she can advise you on which defense or defenses may be applicable in your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Defending Yourself Against a Criminal Charge" Nov. 11, 2014

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