“How often does that really happen?”
“It happens often enough to be a goal that a defense attorney will have.”
“When I’m looking at a case, and here’s a checklist so to say, when I’m looking at what a defendant will face in terms of a sentence, I’m typically looking at the worst-case scenario. Is this going to be a 25-years to life? 15-years to life? Is life exposed? In Alameda County, they’re not doing capital cases, not seeking the death penalty, so it’s not something I have to concern myself with. Some cases in some counties you have to worry about the death penalty. If you take that off the list because it’s not going to be a typical scenario in your case, very few cases are death penalty cases, then you look at…can you avoid a strike? Can you avoid a charge that is a serious felony?
Then you look at…is it possible to avoid state prison? If I have a choice between getting my client to state prison versus county jail, they might want county jail more. A couple of clients have wanted state prison because they thought it was safer. They liked it better than they liked Santa Rita, which is a statement about our Alameda County jail. But where my client will go, that’s a significant consideration. So the more serious, state prison confinement. Also, by the way, I would want to avoid that because if they get a criminal case in the future, a prior state prison confinement will get them at least a year of extra time on the new charge.”
“There are a lot of people that do not know that.”
“So then, what I’m also looking at is what are the enhancements that are included? Is there a gun enhancement? Can I get rid of the gun enhancement? Not likely. The District Attorney’s view in Alameda County, and most counties, is if a person’s been using a firearm, I want everyone in the future to know that’s what this person’s been doing. Sometimes I’ve gotten that out of the mix. So from there, I next look at is it possible to avoid a felony and get a misdemeanor? So my client in Mariposa, my goal is for him to have a misdemeanor and not a felony.
Then, it’s really a matter of….are there fines that are going to be greater or lesser? By the time I’m here, I’m really looking at is it possible to get an infraction? And of course, the ultimate goal that I would have in every one of my cases, if I can reach it, I would want to get a dismissal. That’s my checklist from more serious consequences, and I want to work my way down to eliminate the worst scenario and give my client some breathing room. In a sense, what I do is I broker the consequences for my client. I’m a pain broker. The least amount of pain that my clients have, based upon me negotiating for them, that’s my goal, that makes them happier.”
If you’ve been charged with a crime, one of the things that you should think of is what type of defenses are available to you. There are different types of legal defenses available in criminal law, and the type of criminal defense applicable to you and your case will depend on your situation.
Criminal defense law consists of all the legal protections given to individuals who have been accused of committing a crime. In criminal court, the prosecutor must meet the burden of proof – that is, the responsibility of proving their allegations against the accused.
The police and prosecutors have plenty of resources at their disposal to go after someone and charge them with a crime. To balance the power within the justice system, certain protections are in place for the accused. These, and the skills and experience of a defense attorney will dictate how a defendant will be treated in criminal litigation.
An experienced criminal defense attorney knows how to use constitutional laws for the benefit of their client. For instance, criminal prosecution is based upon the evidence gathered by law enforcers. This evidence can be in the form of physical evidence. This will usually consist of objects found in a crime scene, like a possible weapon, tire marks, shoe print, or even tiny pieces of fabric.
Common Defenses in a Criminal Case
There are many common defenses to criminal charges. You may argue that there are inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case against you, that the evidence gathered violated your constitutional rights, or that you had a justifiable reason for committing the crime. Below are some common primary criminal law defenses.
The defendant didn’t commit the crime you were charged for. The defense can provide an alibi proving you weren’t at the scene when the crime occurred, or present evidence and witnesses that can counter the prosecution’s case.
The defendant admits to using force. However, the defense argues that it’s justified since it was done in self-defense due to the violent and threatening actions of the other party.
The defendant may plead insanity to avoid being punished, since a criminal punishment is only justified if the offender has full control over their actions and understand that what they did was wrong.
In certain circumstances, a defendant may commit crimes under the influence of alcohol and drugs. This can be used as a criminal defense as if it affects the defendant’s mental functioning to the point where they cannot be held accountable for their actions.
If law enforcement officers caused the defendant to commit a crime that they wouldn’t have otherwise committed, then it’s considered entrapment and be used as a defense in criminal court.
Claiming innocence is one of the most basic defenses to criminal liability. You must remember that the prosecution has to prove the crime filed against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If you’re innocent, you don’t have to prove anything, but you can provide documents, testimonies, or evidence that will support the claim that you’re innocent.
A constitutional violation is a type of criminal defense used if the evidence collected by the prosecution was gathered in a manner that violated your constitutional rights. This can include the illegal search, entry, or seizure of your house, car, clothing, etc. Failing to obtain an entry warrant, getting an improper confession, or failing to read to you your “Miranda Rights” at the time of your arrest are also constitutional violations that could lead to suppression of evidence against you or the total dismissal of the case.
Defense of Others
Similar to self-defense, you can use this type of defense if you have used a justifiable amount of force or violence to protect others who are being threatened or are in danger.
Other types of criminal defenses include defense of property, necessity, involuntary/voluntary intoxication, mistake of law, coercion, abandonment, and the statute of limitations.
If you’re accused a crime in California, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why you need an experienced defense attorney on your side when you face your charges. With over 20 years of experience successfully defending clients in California, Andrew Dósa understands the unique challenges of criminal defense in Alameda, CA and other areas in California.