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Five Defenses that May Help You Avoid Responsibility for a Crime

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose criminal defense attorneys, California criminal charges, criminal defenses,  mitigating circumstance, insanity defenseFacing any type of criminal charges in California is a serious matter. In addition to potential court costs, fines, and the prospect of a criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life, you could also be subject to a mandatory minimum jail sentence. In these situations, you need an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney to begin working immediately on your case.

Even in situations where there is overwhelming evidence against you, we may be able to show you were not responsible for your actions, thereby avoiding many of the harsher penalties associated with a conviction.

Building a Strong Defense Against Criminal Charges

Under the California Penal Code, there are a number of defenses that do not dispute the fact that a crime was committed, but rather address the issue of whether you can be held responsible. These include:

1. Insanity

While the insanity defense often adds to the courtroom drama in movies and on television shows, the fact is it only applies in limited circumstances. In effect, you have to suffer a severe mental disease or defect that makes you unable to distinguish that what you were doing was wrong.

2. Mistake of Fact

This alleges that rather than intentionally committing a crime, you had the mistaken notion that what you were doing was not illegal— for example, using someone’s vehicle because you thought you had permission and providing the evidence to prove why you thought this. Simply claiming ignorance that what you were doing was against the law does not apply.

3. Mistake of Law

This is where ignorance of the law might come into play as a defense against a crime. In order to prove this, you must either show that you were acting under instruction or had what you thought was prior authorization, such as being charged for embezzlement when you thought you were simply reimbursing yourself for expenses according to company policies. It may also apply if you can show that your actions were previously determined by the California Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals to not be unlawful.

4. Intoxication

This involves claiming a form of temporary insanity, in that you were so physically or mentally impaired that you cannot be held fully accountable for your actions. While not a defense against a criminal conviction, it is considered a mitigating circumstance which could reduce your charges or the penalties you face.

5. Duress

As in all of the above, this does not dispute the fact you committed a crime. Instead, a duress defense asserts that you did so under the threat of death or serious bodily injury. This does not apply if you knowingly placed yourself in such a possession, for example, by associating with known criminal gang members.

Contact Us Today for Help

With so much on the line in criminal court cases in California, you need someone on your side acting as a strong legal advocate. Reach out and contact Jachimowicz Law Group to request a consultation with our talented San Jose criminal defense attorneys today.

Source:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayexpandedbranch.xhtml?tocCode=PEN&division=&title=&part=2.&chapter=&article=

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