What is a Criminal Defense?

When you have been charged with a crime, the first thing that comes to mind is how to defend yourself to avoid penalties. That’s where criminal defenses come in, and you must familiarize yourself with them to prepare for trial. A criminal defense is a strategic argument attempting to challenge the validity of the evidence presented against you.

The prosecution must prove the criminal charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt to earn you a conviction. A skilled lawyer from a criminal litigation firm in Philadelphia can poke holes in the evidence to show why you’re not guilty of the charges. They can fight aggressively to have the charges dropped or reduced.

That’s why you should consider working with a lawyer to build a strong criminal defense strategy, which can be one or more of the following:

Actual Innocence

The defense of innocence is one of the most straightforward defenses to criminal liability. You could raise the defense if you did not commit the crime, given that the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. They must prove every element of the charges against you and prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.

You don’t have to prove anything when you use actual innocence as your criminal defense strategy. Nonetheless, your criminal defense in Philadelphia can help you gather evidence such as documents, witness testimony, and other evidence to support your claim of innocence.

You Did Not Understand the Significance of Your Criminal Actions

While ignorance of the law is no defense, your Philadelphia criminal defense and injury lawyer may help you argue that you didn’t understand that your actions were wrong. At its most extreme, this criminal defense includes the defense of insanity.

Your lawyer can help you prove that you were mentally incapacitated or had a disorder that made you incapable of differentiating right from wrong when the offense happened. So, you were unable to control your actions or violent impulses and committed a crime. This defense may help you avoid prison but may require you to be assessed in a psychiatric facility.

Affirmative Defense

If you use affirmative defense as your strategy, you and your criminal defense and injury attorney in Philadelphia, PA, will present evidence that undermines the prosecutor’s claims. For example, you could bring an alibi or justification such as self-defense.

This defense strategy doesn’t necessarily spell doubt on every element in the prosecutor’s case. It generally strives to show that the most critical aspects of the charges are false. Unlike the actual innocence defense that challenges prosecutors to prove their claims, the affirmative defense might play an active role in defending you when you’re innocent.


Intoxication defense also relies on the premise that you couldn’t meet all the elements of the charges because you didn’t understand what you were doing. It can also be considered a lack of intent defense. Involuntary intoxication implies you had been drugged, and the intoxication prevented you from knowing right or wrong, so the intent of the crime can’t be formed.

On the contrary, voluntary intoxication may not be a valid defense in some cases. Taking alcohol and drugs willingly for recreational purposes will make it hard for this type of defense to stand in court.

However, an experienced professional attorney for alcohol-related offenses in Philly can be able to use it in specific cases where they can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the intoxication prevented you from forming the necessary intent to commit the crime.

Self-Defense and Defense to Others

Self-defense involves using violence or deadly force to protect oneself or another person. The defense is based on the belief that it’s your right to protect yourself from physical damage. Before you use this criminal defense strategy for an assault charge or any other charge, remember that the degree of force used must be comparable or proportionate to the threat faced.

Your criminal litigation lawyer in Philadelphia must be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who was the aggressor?
  • Was your belief of physical harm reasonable?
  • Was the force you used reasonable?

The court must be able to determine that a reasonable person would have acted in the same way you did under similar circumstances for your strategy to work. Given the imminent danger, the jury might reject your self-defense claim if the force used was unreasonable. For example, hitting someone with a baseball bat and killing them for slapping you isn’t a reasonable force.

Victim of Abuse

Physical and psychological abuse can cause someone to act against their tormentor. If you’re facing charges under such circumstances, you could cite being a victim of abuse as your defense. It is a specialized version of self-defense, and courts have allowed the admission of battered woman syndrome into evidence trials.

Victims of domestic abuse can use battered woman’s syndrome as a defense if they have endured constant and severe domestic violence. They feel the only escape is committing an offense against the offender. Victims of sexual or child abuse can also use the defense, but evidence of abuse is crucial during trial or sentencing.

Constitutional Violations

This type of criminal defense involves challenging how the police collected evidence for your case. Constitutional violations include the following:

  • Failure by the police or law enforcers to read your Miranda Rights at the time of the arrest
  • Obtaining improper confession
  • Illegal seizure and search of your home, car, person, or clothing
  • Not getting a warrant for entry

Mistakes that the police make while doing their job require suppressing evidence against you, if not dismissal of the case. Let your criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia know if any of these violations happened.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Aggressively Defending You Against Criminal Charges

Facing criminal charges can be frightening, given the severe consequences that can follow upon a conviction. The criminal justice system is often complex to navigate. You can only enhance your chances of a favorable outcome by working with a skilled Philadelphia criminal defense and injury attorney.

If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t go to battle alone. Our lawyers can aggressively fight for you to secure a not-guilty verdict. We believe in winning and will do everything possible to help you succeed. Contact Liberty Law Team at (215) 732-3474 to build a rock-solid defense.