Five Ways to Fight Felony Criminal Defense Charges
Individuals accused of felony offenses should consult with criminal defense attorneys immediately. A felony criminal defense attorney can advise the defendant of the best legal defenses they can raise to contest the criminal charges filed against them. A successful legal defense could result in the dismissal of the charge charges entirely or in reducing the charges from a felony to a less serious misdemeanor charge.
If you have been charged with a felony, it is crucial that you understand that felonies are the most serious type of criminal offense. Felonies carry a maximum sentence of more than a year in state prison instead of county jail time. Serious felonies can be punishable by life in prison. Examples of felony-level crimes include the following:
- Violent crimes, including murder
- Sex crimes, including sexual assault
- Aggravated assault
- Certain domestic violence offenses
- Some white-collar crimes, such as embezzlement
- Felony DWI
The best defense strategy will depend on the case's specific circumstances. A skilled attorney will be able to adapt to the facts of the case and develop a persuasive defense strategy.The Alibi Defense
An alibi is a legal defense strategy in which the defendant presents evidence that they could not have committed the crime because they were elsewhere when it occurred. A criminal defense attorney will gather evidence that the defendant was not in the location of the alleged crime when it allegedly occurred. Eyewitness testimony, video surveillance footage, and documents such as credit card receipts, workplace time cards, and hotel reservations can all help prove the alibi defense.Self-Defense
Self-defense can be used as an effective legal strategy against the many violent criminal charges, including murder, aggravated battery, and manslaughter. When asserting criminal defense as a legal defense, the defendant acknowledges that a criminal act occurred but was justified under the circumstances. Proving self-defense can be challenging because certain elements need to be proven true. For example, the defendant must have reasonably believed that they were in imminent danger of bodily injury.
Additionally, the defendant must have reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against the reasonable fear of imminent harm. Finally, the defendant cannot have used more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against the imminent danger.Consent as a Defense
The defense of consent means that a person, or in many cases, the victim, willfully agreed that a specific act would take place. In many felony cases, defendants raised the defense of consent because it shows that a criminal action was not done. There is no criminal act because another person agreed to the act.
For example, suppose a person has been accused of sexual assault due to engaging in penetrative sex with someone who did not consent to the sex. In that case, the defendant can argue that the crime did not occur because the victim willingly engaged. Many cases that involve consent disputes come down to a he-said-she-said scenario. It is helpful when defendants can present evidence corroborating that the other individual gave consent. Examples could include witness statements or video footage.Defenses Involving Errors or Inconsistencies in Accusations
The defendant may provide evidence that they were falsely accused of a crime. There may have been a mistake of fact in which the accuser made a fundamental mistake that negates an element of the crime. Perhaps the alleged victim falsely accused the defendant, and someone else committed the crime that the defendant has been charged with. Legal defenses involving errors or inconsistencies are common in cases involving domestic violence, rape, assault, arson, and drunk driving.Violation of Constitutional Rights
A criminal defense attorney may be able to prove that law enforcement officers violated the defendant's constitutional rights. If the police arrested the defendant without probable cause, coerced a confession, failed to read the defendant their Miranda rights, or arrested the defendant after an unlawful search and seizure, the evidence they gathered needs to be dismissed. A defendant can attempt to use the violation of their constitutional rights to get the felony charges reduced or altogether dismissed.Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Charlotte
If you have been charged with a felony crime in North Carolina, you may be facing substantial jail time. If you are convicted, you will have a permanent criminal record that could make finding employment and housing difficult. The sooner you reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney, the better the likelihood of having the charges against you reduced or dismissed. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a free case evaluation.