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Criminal Negligence Defenses

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Criminal Negligence Defenses

Negligence describes a situation in which a person fails to use the standard of care an ordinary individual would use in the same or similar circumstances. However, negligence is also used in criminal law to describe some criminal acts involving intentional conduct.

What Is Criminal Negligence?

Criminal negligence is negligence requiring a higher degree of responsibility than civil negligence. It is a departure from conduct a careful or prudent person would ordinarily exercise in the same or similar circumstances. Criminal negligence can be:

  • Gross
  • Aggravated
  • Culpable

What Are Some Criminal Negligence Defenses?

The specific defenses available to you depend on the exact facts of your case. However, there are a number of defenses available to the defendant, such as:

  • No Legal Duty: In criminal negligence situations, the defendant must have a legal duty owed to the victim to do something or refrain from doing something. If a defendant can prove they owed no legal duty to the victim, then they can contend that their actions were not criminally negligent.
  • Took Adequate Precautions: Another defense involves demonstrating that the defendant took proper precautions in order to avoid harming the victim.
  • Under the Influence: The defendant can claim they committed the crime while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Voluntary intoxication is no defense. However, involuntary intoxication is a defense. The latter means that the defendant did not consume or ingest the drug or alcohol willingly, but may have consumed drugs or alcohol without realizing it or via physical force.
  • Attack the Elements: Criminal negligence has specific elements a prosecutor must prove to successfully win the case. A defense strategy could involve attacking each element of the crime, such as the defendant’s actions being intentional or beyond an ordinary person’s actions.

Do I Need Help from a Lawyer with my Criminal Negligence Defense?

Criminal negligence laws are difficult to understand which can cause confusion regarding which defense to use. Contact a criminal defense lawyer about the criminal negligence defenses available to you.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-08-2015 10:35 AM PDT

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