wood paneled courtroom

5 Criminal Defense Strategies That Could Fit Your Case

Choosing the right direction for your case is complicated. When you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney, they can provide guidance about which defense strategy will be the strongest based on the details of your case. Let’s discuss five potential options that may help you avoid a conviction.

1. Innocence

Most innocent people believe that they will never be arrested, interrogated, or under the scrutiny of law enforcement in any way. However, this happens more commonly than one might expect.

Innocent people may find themselves facing charges for a variety of reasons. One reason could be incorrect eyewitness testimony. Contrary to popular belief, eyewitness testimony is not one of the best types of evidence in a criminal case. In many instances, individuals at the scenes of crimes and even the victims themselves have misidentified the perpetrator. Inaccurate eyewitness testimony is the reason for a high percentage of wrongful convictions.

Police misconduct, both intentional and unintentional, may also cause innocent people to be arrested. This could include fabricating evidence, witness tampering, and other mistakes made during an investigation.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that some innocent people confess to crimes during interrogations. The Netflix show ‘The Confession Tapes’ touched on this controversial topic. Police officers are within their rights to lie to potential suspects about evidence collected against them. In periods of intense stress and under the belief that they will be convicted, some innocent individuals confess in hopes of getting a better outcome.

If you are innocent of the crime you’ve been accused of committing, it’s crucial that you work with your attorney to prove it.

2. Violation of Rights

Some cases are built off of evidence collected during an illegal police investigation. This is a common occurrence, especially for drug cases. If the police violate the defendant's rights to gather evidence against them, a defense attorney can use this information to suppress whatever evidence was collected. For example: if a police officer conducted a warrantless search of someone's vehicle without their consent and reasonable cause but found cocaine, they may still arrest the driver. However, the cocaine was collected illegally and should not be admissible in court.

If the motion to suppress evidence is granted, this will often cause the entire case to be dismissed as there will no longer be enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

3. Self-Defense

Claiming self-defense is more challenging than one might think. In New York, self-defense is valid when the defendant acted with just force against the threat of harm. In other words, the individual who acted in self-defense must not have used excessive force when defending themselves.

In some states, individuals have the duty to retreat before acting in self-defense. This means that the individual must have tried to leave the situation before engaging in self-defense. New York law does include the duty to retreat unless an intruder enters your home with malintent.

4. Intoxication Defenses

Many people do regrettable things when under the influence. Is this a defense? You may choose to use one of two intoxication defenses: voluntary or involuntary.

Voluntary intoxication occurs when an individual drinks alcohol or takes drugs intentionally but did not have criminal intent when committing the crime they have been accused of committing. Instead, the defense is that they were too intoxicated to think clearly and intend to commit a crime.

Involuntary intoxication occurs when an individual is given alcohol or drugs unknowingly or against their will. Therefore, everything done after the fact due to their intoxication was unintentional.

5. Duress

The duress defense explains that the defendant only committed the criminal offense because of fear of harm if they didn’t. For example, someone blackmails them into committing a crime. In these situations, the individual on their own had no criminal intent but went along with the commission of the crime to protect themselves from harm or injury. Additionally, the defendant would not have committed the crime without the influence or threat from the other person involved.

New York City Criminal Defense Attorneys

After discussing the details of your case, the team at Kenneth E. Belkin, Esq. will have a better understanding of which defense strategy might be right for you. Get started today by calling (718) 395-6755 to set up a case consultation with our NYC criminal defense team.