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What Is an Affirmative Defense?

Posted on in Criminal Law

crystal lake criminal defense lawyerIn most criminal cases, the defendant usually tries to escape punishment by arguing that they did not commit the crime. However, sometimes the defendant admits they committed the crime but argues that their actions were justified. This is known as an affirmative defense.

An affirmative defense is a claim that an otherwise illegal act occurred in a context that makes it legal. If the defendant can prove that his behavior was justified under the law, he will be acquitted.

Common Administrative Defenses

Classic examples of an affirmative defense include:

Self-defense- Self-defense is invoked more than any other affirmative defense. The defendant is arguing that he needed to commit a criminal act to protect himself from bodily harm or death. For example, a person who shoots an armed robber would likely claim self-defense.

Insanity - If a person commits a crime while impaired by mental illness, they are not held accountable for that crime by the criminal justice system. To claim the affirmative defense of insanity, a defendant must undergo a psychological exam. If they are proven insane, they are placed in a mental hospital for treatment until deemed of right mind.

Duress - Sometimes, a person is forced to commit a crime because of external coercion. Duress can take many different forms and could be physical, emotional, or economic in nature. For example, if an organized crime syndicate threatens to harm a man’s family unless he commits a robbery, he would not be liable for that robbery.

Involuntary Intoxication - A person is not liable for criminal acts committed while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol they did not willfully consume. This is the affirmative defense of involuntary intoxication.

Contact a McHenry County Criminal Defense Attorney

Unfortunately, people charged with a crime are often assumed guilty before even appearing in court. The police and prosecution often seem disinterested in their side of the story.

Thankfully, the indicted still have rights. An experienced criminal defense attorney can hold the authorities accountable, ensuring they act with propriety before, during, and after an arrest. They can also identify flaws in the prosecution’s case, which could result in the case being thrown out.

Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC has provided Illinois with consummate criminal representation for years. They have experienced handling all types of cases and have practiced at nearly every level of the judicial system.

If you need a tenacious McHenry County criminal defense attorney, call Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC at 815-338-3838 today to set up a free initial consultation.

 

 

Source:

https://www2.illinois.gov/osad/Publications/DigestbyChapter/CH%2030%20Insanity%20-%20Mentally%20Ill%20-%20Intoxication.pdf

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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