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Consent, Duress, and Your Criminal Defense Strategy


Even by the most conservative estimates, there are at least a dozen different defenses that defendants can use to cast doubt on the allegations that the prosecution is making against them. Some of these defenses involve claiming actual innocence, in other words, saying, “I didn’t do it.” In this case, the defendant might offer an alibi by presenting evidence that he or she was somewhere other than the scene of the crime when it happened. 

Procedural defenses are another category of defense. In these defenses, the defendant argues that, whether or not the defendant committed the crime, the jury cannot convict him or her because the state violated the law with regard to the defendant’s rights, such as by searching the defendant’s property without a warrant or questioning the defendant without reciting the Miranda warnings; these missteps on the state’s part violate the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, respectively.

Finally, you can offer affirmative defenses, in which you admit to the act but deny that the criminal charges are applicable. One example is admitting that you punched someone, but because you were acting in self-defense, charges of assault and battery do not apply.

A Texas criminal defense lawyer can help you decide whether to use an affirmative defense in your case.

It Isn’t Really a Financial Crime If the Account Holder Gave Informed Consent to the Transaction

Several criminal defenses involve doing X to another party without that party’s consent. Therefore, if you can present evidence that the other party gave their consent, then the charges do not apply. For example, it is embezzlement if you withdraw funds from your employer’s bank accounts without your employer’s consent, but if your employer authorized you to make the withdrawals, then you were simply doing your job, not embezzling money. Likewise, defendants who are accused of non-consensual sexual acts may argue that the accuser gave consent.

What If Someone Forced You to Commit the Crime?

Duress is another type of affirmative defense. When you use this defense, you claim that someone else coerced or induced you to commit a crime. For example, someone who gets accused of offering sexual favors for money may argue that she only did so because she was being held captive by people who forced her to engage in sex work. In practice, claiming that you committed a crime under duress may mean that prosecutors will want you to testify against the person or people who coerced you into engaging in the illegal actions.

Offering affirmative defenses is not as simple as it sounds. It is easy to make the jury sure that you did it, especially when you admit that you did, but proving that doing it does not make you guilty of a crime is much more challenging.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases

A Dallas criminal defense lawyer can help you choose the best defense strategy for your case, including but not limited to affirmative defenses. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC in Dallas, Texas to discuss your case.

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