Common Criminal Defenses in New York
Being charged with a crime in New York can be a scary experience. Perhaps you’re completely innocent, but have no way to prove it. Perhaps you feel like you ended up in a bad situation, but didn’t act intentionally. Perhaps you feel that you were tricked into a violation of the law.
Defenses to Criminal Charges: InnocenceYou may assert that the police simply have the wrong person. While this doesn't always seem like it's the case, all criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. An experienced criminal defense attorney will remind the jury that the prosecutor must put on evidence that overcomes the presumption of innocence, and that simple circumstantial evidence or weak eyewitness testimony isn't enough to convict someone of a crime. Additionally, your criminal defense attorney may be able to use advanced investigation and fact-finding techniques to uncover evidence that you were not present at the crime scene, such as alibis or security camera footage.
Defenses to Criminal Charges: Self-DefenseSelf-defense can be an especially important defense if, after you found yourself dragged into a fight, you were later charged with assault or battery. If you were initially the victim of a crime, or believed that you were about to become one, but you fought back, you may have a claim of self-defense. Your attorney will need to show the judge or jury that you reasonably thought that the amount of force you used was necessary to protect yourself or another person from harm.
Defenses to Criminal Charges: Lack of IntentWhether or not you planned to commit a crime or intended for a particular result to come from your behavior can have a tremendous difference on the sentence you serve if convicted. For example, the difference between charges of possessing a drug for personal use, and possession with intent to distribute, will each come with very different minimum sentence lengths, which can hinge on whether or not you intended to sell what you possessed and what can be proven in this regard. Additionally, the difference between a conviction for manslaughter and murder is the difference between accidentally or unintentionally killing someone, and deliberately, willfully planning to kill. Likewise, a sentence for a manslaughter conviction will generally be many years shorter than a sentence for a murder conviction.
Defenses to Criminal Charges: EntrapmentPerhaps you believe that an undercover police officer talked you into participating in a crime, and, soon after you expressed the intent to do so, arrested you. This could amount to a claim that the officer committed entrapment. While this is a difficult claim to prove, there are occasions where a police officer goes too far and can lure someone into participating in a crime who otherwise would not have committed that crime.