There are numerous possible defenses a defendant can use to fight their criminal charges. Regardless of which one they choose, it will fall under one of two categories: affirmative and negating. Under the affirmative defense category, there are 3 particular types that are common in criminal law. These include justification, excuse, and alibi affirmative defenses.
Continue reading to learn more about each type of criminal defense, including how to get a head start on yours. You may also benefit from reading our blog about The Difference Between Affirmative and Negating Defenses to understand the two primary categories of defense.
An affirmative defense is a category of defense used by a defendant who wishes to evade accountability of their criminal charges by presenting new evidence that was not previously addressed in the plaintiff’s claims. Here are the 3 types :
❶ Justification Defenses
Justification defenses are defenses that essentially justify why a defendant committed a crime. Under this defense approach, a defendant would admit they committed the crime, while also insisting they did so for good reason. Self-dense is a perfect example of when a defendant might use this affirmative defense. For instance, if a father killed an armed intruder to protect his family, he would likely use a justification defense. Law enforcement defense is another prime example.
❷ Excuse Defenses
An excuse defense is when a defendant admits they committed a crime, but wishes to be excused for the offense by offering an excuse as to why they did it. The insanity defense is a prime example. Other types of excuse defenses include mental illness, intoxication, diminished capacity, duress, and even infancy (a child or youth). For instance, if a woman is charged with resisting arrest and threatening police officers, and defends her actions by claiming she has a mental illness, she would be using an excuse defense. Another example would be if a man robbed a store under extreme duress because his wife was being held hostage by the criminals forcing him to commit a crime.
❸ Alibi Affirmative Defenses
Alibi affirmative defenses are quite common and much different from the other two types of defenses mentioned above. When a defendant uses an alibi affirmative defense, they are not admitting guilt, responsibility, or having any kind of involvement in the alleged criminal charges. They use defense by providing legitimate evidence of an alibi. An alibi is proof that the defendant was somewhere else when the crime took place, making it impossible for them to have committed the crime. Often times, this type of defense is used alongside a negating defense for best results.