Common Defenses To Crimes


1. Unlawful Search And Seizure Defenses To Crimes

The Fourth Amendment guarantees that you are free from illegal searches and seizures. Police must have a valid warrant, or a legal reason as to why they do not need to get one, before they can search someone’s house or car in search of evidence.

The defense attorney can request that the court suppress or exclude all illegally obtained evidence if the police have exceeded their limits in conducting a search. If so, the court may agree with the defense attorney that the prosecution has too weak of a case to pursue.

2. Entrapment

Undercover police officers are permitted to lie to suspects. However, lawful deception can lead to entrapment if police threaten or trick suspects into committing crimes they are not predisposed for. This is another of the defenses to crimes your attorney can use. The criminal case should be dismissed if the defense attorney can prove that the police entrapped the defendant.

In cases involving drug sales, prostitution, or money laundering, entrapment issues are common.

3. Self-Defense Defenses To Crimes

Nevada law allows people to defend themselves or others with proportional force. If they feel it is necessary to stop an imminent and pressing threat of serious bodily harm or death, people can even resort to lethal force (“justifiable murder”)

The castle doctrine in Nevada also permits residents to use lethal force against threatening intruders. People can also stand their ground (no obligation to retreat) as long as they:

  • They believe that their lives are in danger.
  • They didn’t start the fight.
  • They weren’t trespassing and
  • They did not violate the law in any other way

4. False claims

Prosecutors know that sometimes people accuse others falsely of crimes out of anger or revenge or a misunderstanding. This is most common in cases involving domestic violence and rape. However, defense lawyers are adept at proving that accusers may be lying by impeaching their credibility. Revealing false claims is among the valid defenses to crimes.

5. Consent Defenses To Crimes

In cases involving sexual assault, consent is a common defense. If the victim consents to the sex, there is no sexual assault. The consent could also be used for a defense against theft. The victim could have consented to pay the money or property to the defendant, in which no theft would have occurred.

6. Intoxication

Involuntary impairment, which refers to when defendants are given drugs without their consent and knowledge, is among the defenses to crimes or against any criminal charge. People should not be held liable for their actions if they are drugged against their will.

However, voluntary intoxication, which is when defendants drink alcohol or drugs intentionally, can be used as a defense only in particular “specific intent crime” cases. These are crimes where the defendant intended to achieve a specific result such as burglary and forgery. Even then, the defendant must prove that he/she was incapable of premeditating.

7. Insanity Defenses To Crimes

Nevada crime convictions cannot be made against defendants who were legally insane. The M’Naghten rule states that people can be legally insane if they are in a state of delusional thinking due to a mental defect or disease and could not

  • Understand or know the nature of their actions.
  • Recognize that their behavior was illegal.

You can also read our articles on the PTSD defense, assistant outpatient treatment program, and competency to stand trial.

8. Mistaken Identification

Sometimes, police arrest the wrong person, which can be included in the defenses to crimes. Maybe the defendant looked like the real criminal. Perhaps the victim chose the wrong defendant from a list. A mistaken identity defense can be supported by evidence such as DNA, surveillance video, and eyewitnesses.

9. Privileged Communications Defenses To Crimes

These types of statements can be considered privileged if they are incriminating when said to the husband, wife, psychiatrist, or lawyer. As such, they are strong defenses to crimes because the spouse, doctor, and lawyer are not allowed to be forced to disclose them to the court. This is true with only a few exceptions.

10. Due Process Violations

To make the court proceedings valid, they must be fair. If they are denied their rights, defendants may be able to contest their guilty pleas and verdicts.

Ineffective assistance of counsel is one example of due process violation, which is one of the defenses to crimes we are discussing. Ineffective assistance of counsel is when the defense attorney fails to perform as expected.

Prosecutorial misconduct is another example. This is where the prosecutors illegally prejudice the case. Failure to turn over exculpatory information, which is evidence suggesting that the defendant might be innocent, is one type of prosecutorial misconduct.

If you or a family member have been arrested and need quality legal counsel for defenses to crimes, contact our office right away for a free consultation to review your case.

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Gary L. Guymon, PC