It can be scary and confusing if you have been accused of a violent crime. If this occurs, try to gather as much information as possible that can support your case. Examples include witness statements or videos from cell phones and surveillance equipment. Establish and gather proof of your alibi. Do not speak at length to law enforcement unless you have trusted legal advice.
What is a violent crime?
A crime is classified further as a violent crime when an accused person uses or threatens to use a level of force against another person. These crimes are serious, and sentencing, if convicted, will be reflected accordingly. Law enforcement and prosecutors work very hard to prove an accused’s guilt. Those accused of a violent crime with previous charges and convictions, even non-violence charges, will find the court less sympathetic to their case. Some of the most common violent crimes include:
- Criminal theft, including armed robbery
- Assault and battery
- Domestic violence
- Kidnapping and false imprisonment
- Murder, attempted murder, manslaughter
- Rape and other sex crimes
- Weapons charges
- Resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer
Common defense against violent crime charges
Your attorney can help you examine evidence to determine if you are being wrongly accused or if there were extenuating circumstances such as self-defense of yourself or your property. They will research witness statements, cell phone or surveillance videos, and reports made by police. Common defenses to violent crimes are:
The prosecution must have evidence that you are guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The onus is not on the accused to prove innocence but rather on the prosecution to prove guilt.
If someone else provoked the violence, and you were acting to protect yourself, another person, or your property, a self-defense strategy may be effective.
Violation of rights
If your constitutional rights were violated during your arrest, such as illegal search, failure to read your Miranda rights, or tampering with evidence, your case could be thrown out.
If you admit to committing the crime, but your actions were a result of prior acts of the person targeted for the violent act, you may be able to prove that you were temporarily insane and that your actions were justifiable.
Though violent crime accusations and charges are serious, a strong defense can often reduce or eliminate the charges. Understanding the types of violent crimes and common defenses can help you establish your defense plan.