We all know how complicated things can be when it comes to law. However, it is necessary to keep the society safe and secure.
There are times when an alleged act may have some justification that may result in acquittal to the accused or the acknowledgement of diminished responsibility. These justifications are referred to as defenses and they are categorized to many different types. Whatever it may be, the final decision of any case will always be up to the judge.
Defense of Necessity
An accused raises the defense of necessity when she’s filing an alleged act that was due to exceptional circumstances. In this case, the accused was desperate that he or she had nothing else to do but break the law. Courts have set a standard criteria in determining whether or not the case will fall under this category:
- The unlawful act was intended to prevent a greater evil.
- There could not have been any reasonable, legal alternative course of action.
- The unlawful act could not have been more than what was necessary to prevent the greater evil.
- The unlawful act must have been effective toward preventing the greater evil.
Defense of Duress
The accused claims that he or she committed the offense due to compulsion where he or she was threatened by death or bodily harm for non-compliance. Usually, the defense can only be used if the threats were of greater severity than the offense committed. Also, this is accepted when the threats are unavoidable and immediate.
This defense is usually practiced in charges of assault or homicide. In this case, the accused claims to have killed the victim because the victim attacked him or her. In cases where the accused has killed the attacker, the court must prove that the attacker would have otherwise killed the defendant and the latter would not have been able to avoid his or her death. However, it should also be proven that the act of the accused is not more than what was necessary to prevent the evil act of the aggressor.
Defense of Infancy
Many jurisdictions observe what is commonly referred to as ‘the age of criminal responsibility’. This pertains to a person who commits a crime while they are younger than that age, they cannot be held responsible for their actions. The defense here usually goes that the accused has done the alleged crime at age that is younger than the ‘age of criminal responsibility’.
There are many other types of defenses. It is important that we are aware of them, if not well-versed, to know what we should do in case we are charged of a crime. It goes the same if we are to file a criminal offense against someone. Remember, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.