If you are charged with a violent crime, you may feel fearful and confused as you wonder what the future holds. While these are serious charges, there are many ways your criminal defense attorney can defend you.
Violent Crime Overview
Every state has different laws for classifying non-violent and violent crimes. Generally, a violent crime involves using force and causing injury to someone else. The seriousness of the crime depends on the level of harm that was caused to the other person.
Many states have more severe penalties for violent crimes that cause serious bodily injury. The charged crime can also be more severe if a weapon is used.
Sometimes you can be charged with a violent crime even if no physical harm occurred. A common example is where you threaten to assault/harm someone. Even if you don’t actually touch the alleged victim, you still could be charged with a violent crime.
Some of the most common violent crimes are:
- Assault and battery
- Domestic violence
- Armed robbery
- Sexual assault
Potential defenses to a violent crime include:
Lack Of Intent
The state prosecutor has to prove that you intended to harm the alleged victim. However, it can be challenging to prove a lack of intent as it often comes down to your word.
However, it is possible to use a lack of intent defense if you were intoxicated or were mentally unsound at the time of the alleged crime.
If you can prove that you were not at the crime scene and were mistaken for someone else, this defense may work. You’ll need witnesses to back up your alibi that you were not at the scene of the crime.
The other option is to show that no actual violence occurred during the incident and there were no injuries or damages.
If the other person involved in the incident was trying to harm you, it’s possible to say it was self-defense. For a self-defense argument to work in a violent crime case, you must prove that you didn’t start the incident.
You may need witnesses to back up your claim that you didn’t start the confrontation and were trying to defend yourself.
Also, you need to show that you only used the necessary amount of force. For instance, if the other person slaps you, it’s reasonable to defend yourself with an equal amount of force. But if you stab the person with a knife after they slap you, claiming self-defense is more problematic.
Defense Of Others
This defense justifies the use of force because you were defending someone else. For example, if the alleged victim was seen attacking a woman in a bar, you could be justified in attacking that person to stop the crime from happening.
This is another lack of intent defense to violent crime charges. If you were in a state where you didn’t know what you were doing due to intoxication, this would make you innocent of the crime.
This defense could be used if you think someone spiked your drink or served you food that was laced with an illegal narcotic.
If you intoxicated yourself, this won’t be a valid defense. But the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to commit the violent act. If you were extremely intoxicated, situations could arise in a trial where the charges could be reduced, depending on the circumstances.
A violent crime charge is serious but with the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, it’s possible to reduce the legal consequences.