The Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs reported an increase of 16.6% in murders from 2021 to 2022 in the state. For those facing accusations of committing those murders, finding a proper defense strategy was imperative.
Defending one’s rights in the face of criminal charges involves a complex legal landscape, with three primary approaches known as negative, affirmative, and procedural criminal defenses. These strategies are essential to navigate the criminal justice system effectively and protect individuals from unjust consequences.
1. Negative defense
Negative criminal defense is one of the most common approaches. It revolves around challenging the prosecution’s evidence and burden of proof. In a negative defense, the accused party asserts that the prosecution did not meet its obligation of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This strategy involves asking if the proof that the prosecution shows in court is trustworthy and important. It focuses on the idea that there might not be enough definite evidence to prove that the person did the crime, instead of giving a different story about what happened.
2. Affirmative defense
Affirmative criminal defense, on the other hand, goes beyond refuting the prosecution’s case. In this strategy, the accused party takes a more active stance by presenting evidence, witnesses or arguments to support their innocence or a justifiable reason for their actions.
Affirmative defenses are when someone admits they did something wrong but has a good reason for it that the law recognizes. For instance, they might say they acted in self-defense or had to do it to avoid a bigger problem. This means they admit they did the action, but they want the court to say they are not guilty because of certain situations.
3. Procedural defense
Procedural criminal defense focuses on legal technicalities and the defendant’s constitutional rights. This strategy emphasizes the importance of adhering to due process and lawful procedures during the investigation, arrest and trial. Any violations of these rights can result in the exclusion of evidence or the dismissal of charges.
Procedural defenses are about problems with how the police or others handled the case. They might have done things like searching or taking things unlawfully, not letting the person stay silent or not letting them talk to a lawyer. The person accused of a crime uses legal rule violations to oppose the charges.
These three criminal defense strategies play a pivotal role in safeguarding the rights of individuals facing criminal charges. Understanding them is important for navigating the criminal justice system and ensuring fairness.