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Affirmative Defense

Just because an individual is charged with a crime it does not mean that a crime was committed. There are many situations where what a criminal act can be justified by mounting an affirmative defense.
An affirmative defense in criminal law is the legal justification of an act which would otherwise be criminal. Typically, an affirmative defense involves the presentation of extenuating facts or circumstances that excuse or reduce the gravity of the criminal act without disputing in any way the facts presented by the prosecution that led to criminal charges in the first place. In other words, a defendant with an affirmative defense accedes to the act being committed but presenting evidence that reduces or nullifies his or her culpability.

A common affirmative defense for homicide that a criminal defense lawyer would explore would be self-defense. An individual faced with imminent bodily harm has the right to use whatever force necessary, armed or unarmed, to prevent it. For example, a woman being raped uses a rock to hit her assailant on the head and the assailant dies, the woman may use self-defense to avoid prosecution for the death of the assailant. A similar legal defense is that of defense of others to justify the use of force on a third party to prevent harm from coming to others.

There are several other common affirmative defense, including duress, involuntary intoxication, and entrapment. In most cases, if the judge or jury accepts that there was justification for what happened, the defendant cannot be held culpable and is acquitted. The exception is the affirmative defense of insanity, in which the defendant is generally committed to a mental health institution, sometimes for an unspecified period of time.

In some cases, the affirmative defense serves only to reduce the original charge for a lesser one, consequently also reducing the severity of the penalty. It depends on the jurisdiction as state laws differ widely in their definition and interpretation of the particular affirmative defense presented. Because an affirmative defense is often complex, it is important that the criminal defense has a thorough understanding of the interplay of the relevant laws and their jurisdictional interpretations.

Criminal Defense for Internet Sex Crimes

A lot of water has flown under the bridge of sex crimes. Back in the day, federal laws focused more on the transport of women across territories for the purpose of prostitution rather than actual prostitution. This is the main purpose of the Mann Act, named after its sponsor James Mann.

While it is still a criminal offense to transport women across state lines to commit an “immoral” act, the main focus now of the Mann Act and similar legislation is on child prostitution, most lately and worrisomely committed over the Internet. Internet sex crime is a very new arrival on the scene, but it has proven to be one of the most difficult to prosecute because there is very little to hold on to in terms of evidence.

Criminals who prey on and sexually exploit children are probably the most hated individuals in the world, and are often meted out severe punishments when convicted. The problem is it is very hard to get internet sex criminals indicted without a preponderance of evidence, so it is a crime that too many times go unpunished.

Because of this, a person charged with internet sex crimes has little hope of being treated fairly. Because of the heinous nature of the accusation, there is a bias against those who are accused of it, so immediately there is a tendency to believe the worst. Since it is so difficult to prosecute these crimes, a jury is more may have difficulty convicting the accused due to the amount of evidence required to prove guilt.

The defendant is innocent until proven guilty, but according to the website of the Law Offices of Alexander & Associates in Denton, merely being accused of a crime can change the defendant’s life. If charged with this crime, waste no time in getting the best criminal defense lawyer in the area. The best outcome would be no charges are ever brought to trial, where the playing field is not even.