Falsely Accused – Legal Defenses To A Murder Charge (US Law)

by garyhall434 on June 26, 2012

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A conviction of murder carries with it harsh penalties, the worst being the death penalty. However, a criminal defense attorney can use a number of legal defenses to try to beat the charge. The burden of proof lies squarely on the shoulders of the prosecutor. However, to make a stronger case, a defense attorney would have to provide evidence to exonerate his client. Depending on the circumstance, the defense team can opt for any one of the following legal defenses.

A defense attorney can use the mistaken identity argument. He can argue that the prosecutor has charged the wrong person for the crime. To pull this off, he would have to provide evidence that his client was somewhere else during the time of the crime, his alibi. Alternatively, he can challenge the evidence of the prosecution team that puts his client on the scene of the crime. If there is evidence that implicates someone else, he can present it in court.

A common argument used is that of self-defense. A defense attorney would have to show that his client did indeed use deadly force but that is was out of fear that he would have been gravely harmed or killed if he had not done so. In this case, defense would have to show that the accused had reasonable grounds to fear for his life. The defense will also have to show that the force used in self-defense was in proportion to the perceived threat. Further, the defense would have to show that the accused had no means of escape to avoid the danger. How hard the accused should have tried to avoid the danger differs depending on the circumstances. If the threat of danger had passed at the time of the crime, this negates the claim of self-defense. Similar to self-defense is defense of others. The same conditions must be proved, that is, there should have been a reasonable threat to the lives of others and that deadly force was used when there was a real threat, and the force used was in proportion to the threat faced.

A killing is not classified as murder if it happened by accident. The defense would have to prove that the accused was carrying out lawful activities rather than committing a crime when the killing happened. Further, he will have to prove that he did not have criminal intentions while engaging in the activity that brought about the killing. In this case, the accused is guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Insanity is another defense that can be employed. Defense will have to prove that the accused was not aware that the act was wrong or that he is unable to appreciate the nature of the act altogether. What constitutes insanity may depend on the individual states.

Finding a good attorney to your area, no matter what the charge, is a very important first step if you have been charged with a crime. A good way to go about doing this is simply search for keywords related to the charge in addition to the name of the city or state where I live. For instance, if I was charged with vehicular manslaughter and I lived in Massachusetts, I might do a search for “manslaughter defense Massachusetts”. This would help me find a good attorney’s website like ElliotSavitzLaw.com where I could learn more about the charges I was facing. Or, I could contact Elliot Savitz Law directly from the contact page (on his site) and have him get started on the case right away.

Murder is a serious charge that comes with serious penalties if the accused is proved to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. Anyone accused of this charge has a number of defenses that he can use. A defense attorney with knowledge on the law and court procedure would be able to mount a solid defense for his client. Having a good defense could result in an acquittal or being charged with a lesser crime.



Gary Hall is a top auto accidents lawyer in Sherman Oaks serving clients all over California. His thoughtful and professional way of handling personal injury cases sets him apart from the others. He is an experienced car accident lawyer Sherman Oaks, who do not hesitate to handle any personal injury matters of any clients.

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