Common Types of Criminal Defenses

If you’ve been accused of a crime, you’ll have to go to court as the defendant. The prosecutor will establish that you are guilty of your crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Together with your criminal defense lawyer in Lynnwood, you will have to prevent yourself from getting a guilty verdict by presenting a defense.

All defendants in Washington State are entitled to defend themselves in court. This strategic argument is called a criminal defense, and its goal is to challenge the sufficiency and validity of the evidence that the prosecution presents during a trial. As a defendant, you must know what types of criminal defenses there are available.

Category 1: You Didn’t Commit a Criminal Act

There are specific defenses that argue whether you have committed a crime or not. It might appear that there was a crime, but circumstances exhibit that you never actually did something wrong.

First, you can argue that you were under entrapment. It is when the government forces you to commit a crime only to punish you in the end. You can say that if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t have committed a crime. Therefore, you’re not responsible for what you did.

Client talking with lawyer

You can also argue that you’ve already renounced your act. This type of defense is also called abandonment and withdrawal. You must prove to the court that you abandoned the thought or act of a crime and must have evidence for it.

Finally, you can also argue that a victim of an alleged crime gave you consent to commit an act that is now being treated as a crime.

Category 2: Your Actions Were Necessary

This category focuses on types of defenses that justify your actions. The most common of this category is self-defense or defense of others. It states that you acted to defend yourself or other people that resulted in an alleged crime.

Another type of this category is coercion and duress. It states that you had no choice but to commit an act because you were threatened or unlawfully forced to do so. You can also argue that you committed a crime because you needed to prevent another crime from occurring. This is called a necessity defense.

Category 3: You Were Not Aware that You Were Committing a Crime

Finally, you can argue that you were not aware of your actions. This category has three types.

The first one is the most widely used insanity defense. And while many people use it as a defense, it is not always successful. For an insanity defense to work, you must prove, with clear evidence, that you already had a severe mental illness when the crime was committed.

Gavel and alcohol to symbolize intoxication defense

You can also argue that you were heavily intoxicated and not aware of your actions when the crime occurred. This is called the intoxication defense.

The last one is a mistake of law or fact defense. It is applied to minimal circumstances, but it states that you didn’t think you were committing a crime. You can argue that you didn’t get your facts straight or that you weren’t aware of the law governing your actions. However, your defense will depend on your crime and the evidence you have to present in court.