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What Are Some Misdemeanor Defenses?
Misdemeanor defenses can be sometimes be raised depending on the facts involved in each particular charge. Misdemeanors include crimes such as: simple theft, simple assault, certain DUI and alcohol-related offenses, and other minor crimes. Some commonly raised misdemeanor defenses include:
- Self defense
- Mistake (for instance, took property that they mistakenly believed was their own)
- Coercion (someone else forced the defendant to commit the act)
Some of these defenses may be more complicated to prove than others. For instance, the defense of necessity usually requires a showing that the defendant’s act was necessary to respond to an emergency or to prevent a crime from occurring.
Can Misdemeanor Sentences be Reduced?
In some cases, it may be possible to reduce your criminal sentence. For instance, if the judge finds that you were only partially liable for the person’s injuries, they may lower the sentence that was originally prescribed for you. Or, if evidence later shows that some of the facts were mistaken, it can have an effect on the way the sentence is determined later on during the trial.
For instance, a judge may reduce the number of months the defendant is required to spend in jail. In some cases, they may actually prescribe an alternative to jail such as participation in a community service program.
What is a Reduction in Charges?
A common adjustment during sentencing is the reduction of a felony crime to a misdemeanor charge. For instance, most crimes involving serious bodily injury will result in felony charges. But suppose that the defendant only caused property damage for the defendant, while the injury was caused by a different factor. This can have the effect of lowering the charges from a felony to a misdemeanor. This can mean a difference in several years in sentencing or a large amount in criminal fines.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Misdemeanor Defenses?
In every criminal trial, the defendant has the right to a court-appointed attorney. However, you may wish to hire your own criminal lawyer to better meet your own preferences and legal needs. A qualified criminal attorney in your area can provide you with personalized legal attention and representation. Your lawyer can help you with legal advice and can determine what your legal options are.
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Last Modified: 11-21-2016 08:58 PM PST
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