Generally, two ingredients must be proved before criminal liability can be imposed by any court of law. These are actus reus and mens rea. The former refers to the criminal act constituting a crime while the latter refers to the guilty mind or intention to commit the crime. This rule is not cast in stone. There are exceptions to the general rule. For example, the guilty mind need not necessarily be proved in strict liability offenses. Criminal defense is focused on demonstrating that the elements or ingredients for commission of a crime are lacking and that a guilty verdict should not be reached. At the outset, it is worthy to note that ignorance of the law is no defense. It may suffice as a mitigating factor, but it will definitely not exonerate fully from criminal liability. Some of the basic defenses in Criminal Law include:

  1. Mistake

A person who commits an act or omits to do certain acts under the honest but mistaken belief in the existence of a certain state of affairs should be absolved of criminal responsibility if the act or omission turns out to be criminal in nature. This point may be illustrated where A mistakenly takes B’s bag at the supermarket thinking it is his -probably due to some resemblance. If A is later charged for stealing, a criminal defense attorney could argue that a crime was not committed since the accused person was mistaken as to the ownership of the bag.

  1. Autrefois Conviction

When pleading autrefois conviction, a criminal defense Keller TX attorney is basically stating that the accused person has been convicted of the alleged crime before and as such further criminal prosecution would be contrary to the principle of double jeopardy. No person should be punished twice for the same offense.

  1. Autrefois acquittal

This plea as a criminal defense presupposes that the accused person has been tried for the same crime and been acquitted.

  1. Insanity

The law must take into account the mental status of an accused person before imposing criminal liability. A defense of insanity basically implies that the mens rea or the guilty mind required in proving commission of a crime is lacking. It is worthy to note that the test to be employed in this regard is legal and not medical.

  1. Intoxication

In certain circumstances, a criminal defense Keller TX attorney could argue intoxication to free the accused person from the question of guilt. This defense is not absolute. Certain ingredients must be fulfilled for a court to consider it as a valid excuse for commission of a crime.

  1. Infancy

As the word suggests, the defense of infancy is pegged on the age of the accused person. There is a certain age below which a person cannot be imputed of criminal responsibility. The age of criminal responsibility varies between States and a criminal defense attorney should advise you on this point.

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