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What defenses are available to defend against a felony charge?

Despite the wide variety of criminal charges that exists under Louisiana law, defenses to a criminal charge may be categorized into two types. Typically, criminal defenses consist of either the defendant claiming he or she did not commit the crime, or that the defendant admits that he or she committed the crime, but should not be help legally responsible.

Often, a person's defense may stem from his or her contention that he or she simply did not commit the crime at issue. The best way to bolster such a defense may be to establish an alibi. An alibi seeks to establish that a defendant was elsewhere during the commission of a crime, and, therefore, could not have committed the alleged offense. The testimony of someone who was with the defendant is often necessary, and multiple witnesses can strengthen an alibi.

Sometimes a defendant may admit that he or she committed the alleged criminal activity, but that due to other circumstances, he or she should not be held legally responsible. For example, a person may contend that he or she acted in self-defense when accused of a crime of violence, claiming that he or she was not the aggressor, but rather the victim who acted to protect him or herself or another. Likewise, a Louisianan may be able to raise the defense of entrapment if a government official has induced him or her to commit a crime. Insanity is another possible defense. Such a defense may seek to establish that a suspect did not have the criminal intent or required mental state to commit a particular crime.

What defense may be appropriate in a particular instance will depend on the underlying circumstances of the case. This post gives a general overview of possible defenses to criminal charges and is not intended to offer specific legal advice or guidance regarding any specific charges. An experienced criminal attorney can discuss with a Louisianan the possible defenses for criminal charges he or she may be facing.

Source: FindLaw, "Defending Yourself Against a Criminal Charge," accessed Feb. 5, 2016

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