Common Defenses for Criminal Charges in Florida
When you’re accused of a criminal charge, acting now to defend yourself can feel impossible. You need to find the right defense, but you might not be sure what that is. Unfortunately, many people who don’t know these common defenses for criminal charges in Florida accept convictions that hurt their futures.
Fortunately, Hersem Law can help. We understand that finding the right defense isn’t always easy. That’s why you may need a Florida attorney to review your case and find the best defense for you.
In some cases, you might have been mistaken for another person. A similar name, car, or face can all leave you in serious trouble. For example, a police officer might have switched the numbers on a suspect’s license plate. Unfortunately, that matched up with yours. Now, you’ve been arrested.
In some cases, proving that you weren’t the one involved may be necessary. For example, you may seek out evidence that you don’t match the police’s description. Your defense attorney may be able to help you establish an alibi or gather proof that the person in question wasn’t you.
Lack of Knowledge
One moment, you’re borrowing someone else’s car—perhaps that of a friend or family member. The next, you’ve been arrested for possession of drugs that you didn’t even know about. Unfortunately, your friend or relative’s actions may have left you in a legal bind.
In cases like these, it’s important to prove you didn’t know about the controlled substances, firearms, or other illegal items in your possession. For example, proving that you have a roommate or that you don’t own the car could help you defend your case. Lack of knowledge can be a solid defense for several other situations, too.
Lack of Intent
Sometimes, you might have done something harmful without meaning to do so. Often, this defense is used in assault cases. For example, you may have made a comment that was perceived as a threat. You didn’t mean any harm and weren’t trying to act threateningly, but you were then arrested for your actions.
Your lawyer may focus on the lack of evidence that you intended to harm someone. For example, making a threat without any signs that you plan to act on that, like carrying a weapon, may help lead to a reduction or even dismissal of your charges in some cases.
Effects of Duress
You might agree that you did what you’ve been accused of, but that doesn’t mean you wanted to. If this is true for you, acting in duress to avoid more severe danger can be a defense for your case.
For example, you might have been pulled over for drunk driving. However, you might have only been driving because you were afraid you’d come to harm if you stayed where you were. You might have been assaulted or injured by a homeowner, for example. If you were doing what you could to avoid harm, your defense attorney may be able to use that to your advantage.
Acting in Defense
Another affirmative defense is acting to defend yourself and others. While you may be admitting to committing the act in question, you’re also fighting to prove that your actions were justified.
In many cases, people have acted in self-defense. Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws have been the subject of debate, but these laws may give you a defense if you used force to stop someone from harming you.
You might have been acting in defense of others, too. For example, someone might have threatened to harm the people around you, and there was reason to believe they would carry out that threat. You may have been arrested for acting first to stop them. Your lawyer would then need to focus on proving the other person was a danger and that you acted in defense of others.
Sometimes, you may believe that the police were in the wrong. They have certain procedures they should go through when arresting or finding proof against someone. Entrapment, however, means the officer pushed you to do something you wouldn’t normally do, then arrested you for that crime.
For example, a police officer might have pretended to be a drug dealer. They may have pushed and pushed for you to buy the drugs, only to arrest you for your actions. Because you weren’t seeking out the drugs and were pushed, you may have grounds for a dismissal in some cases.
The Burden of Proof
When you’re being accused of a crime in Florida, keep in mind that there’s a certain threshold that the evidence must meet. For a criminal case, the prosecution must prove that you committed the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That requires a high level of proof that you committed a crime.
Fortunately, that means that the burden of providing that proof falls on the prosecution. They must show that you caused the damage they say you did and that you broke the law. That means that if they don’t have the proof needed to show all this, you may be able to seek a dismissal.
Sometimes, you may be able to avoid criminal charges simply because of the time that has passed since the crime took place. Like civil lawsuits, criminal charges also have statutes of limitations. If enough time has passed and the prosecution doesn’t act within that time limit, you may be able to seek to have the charges dismissed, and they may not have grounds to convict you for that crime in Florida.
Call a Florida Criminal Attorney about Your Defense
When you’re accused of a criminal offense, fighting back against those charges now can help you recover and protect your future. Unfortunately, if you don’t know the common defenses for criminal charges in Florida, it can be tough to react and defend yourself.
Fortunately, your lawyer at Hersem Law can help. Get started with a free strategy session, and we can discuss your case and your defense. That way, you know where we can start before you agree to anything.
Ready to begin? While the common defenses listed above can get you started, we can find the unique defense you need for your particular case when your goal is to fight, reduce, or even completely dismiss your charges. Give us a call now at 813-251-7291, or complete the online form below to get in touch.