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Do you have grounds for an affirmative defense to charges?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2022 | criminal law

There is a relatively high standard for evidence in criminal court. For North Carolina prosecutors to bring charges against you, there typically needs to be compelling evidence supporting the allegations that you committed a crime.

When you choose to fight back against those charges, you might decide to challenge the evidence or the way that police gathered the evidence to keep video footage or confessions out of court. On the other hand, sometimes you don’t need to eliminate evidence because you don’t need to prove that you were uninvolved in an incident.

Instead, what you need to do is challenge the way that the prosecutor interprets the evidence. An affirmative defense can be the perfect solution for someone facing charges backed by significant evidence.

What is an affirmative defense?

North Carolina allows you to enter a plea of not guilty based on an affirmative defense. When a criminal defendant builds an affirmative defense, their strategy in court will not require an alibi or a way to prevent the introduction of evidence that connects them to a crime.

Instead, what they need to do is provide a believable explanation for those behaviors. One of the more common affirmative defense strategies involves making a claim of self-defense. If someone can prove they acted to protect themselves, their property or other people, they can potentially avoid conviction when charged with a violent crime.

Claiming insanity or a lack of mental capacity at the time of an incident can also be an affirmative defense. The defendant does not try to claim that the police arrested the wrong person but rather that the accused did not have the ability to form criminal intent.

Provided that you can raise a reasonable doubt about whether you acted in self-defense or were in a temporary state of insanity and therefore lacked the ability to have criminal intent, you can potentially avoid a criminal conviction even when there is compelling evidence tying you to a specific criminal action.

The evidence against you should determine your strategy

Every criminal case is unique, and there is no guarantee that a specific defense tactic will work in your case. Most successful criminal defense strategies are the results of a careful analysis of the evidence that the state has.

Learning about different ways to defend yourself against criminal charges, like raising an affirmative defense, could help you avoid a conviction and all of the consequences one could have on your life.