There are many possible defenses for an accused, but a lay person without the training and experience to properly use them is doomed to fail.
Have you been charged with a crime in Los Angeles? If so, you face potentially severe consequences, from fines to license suspensions to probation to prison time, any of which can have a major negative impact on you, your family and others. Even if you believe yourself to be responsible for the charges alleged, you should be looking for a Los Angeles criminal attorney to make sure the legal process does not result in more harm to yourself and those who rely on you.
Los Angeles has a higher crime rate when compared to the national average. In fact, there are approximately 34 crimes per 1,000 residents in the city. One in approximately 30 Los Angeles residents will be the victim of either violent or property crime. Even compared to the rest of the State of California, Los Angeles’ crime rate is higher than 84% of the rest of the cities and towns. When compared to other major cities in the United States, Los Angeles’ crime rate is similar.
Violent crime is one area where Los Angeles suffers, as the violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation, even when compared to cities and towns of all sizes. Including rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon, a Los Angeles resident has a one in 130 chance of falling victim to a violent crime.
When it comes to property crime, Los Angeles’ 26 per 1,000 persons ranks Los Angeles as a place where you have an above average chance of being a victim thereof. Including motor vehicle theft, arson, larceny, and burglary, a person in Los Angeles has a one in 39 chance of being a victim. Of all property crimes, Los Angeles’ one in 205 chance of having your vehicle stolen is extremely high.
Based on the above evidence of high crime rates in Los Angeles, there is a predisposition among judges and juries that a perpetrator is guilty. For this reason, looking for a Los Angeles criminal attorney is vital to protecting your rights.
So how do you prevent being convicted or at least minimizing the penalties you may suffer?
The number one defense is “I did not do it.” An alleged perpetrator may argue that someone else committed the crime or the alleged crime was not committed at all. A competent attorney will be able to procure evidence from witnesses, documents and other materials to establish such a defense.
As an accused is “presumed innocent until proven guilty,” the prosecution must convince the jury (typically “beyond a reasonable doubt”) that the accused is guilty, rather than the defendant having to prove that he is innocent. This is a heavy burden of proof that mandates that a judge or jury must be certain that the accused is guilty. This is something an experienced criminal attorney will use in strategizing a solid defense.
Another defense is known as an “alibi,” where the accused argues that he was somewhere else besides the scene of the crimes and, therefore, cannot be guilty. Proving such an alibi typically involves credit card statements with times showing charges in another place, witness testimony and the like.
Other defenses involve admitting the accused committed the act but establishing a valid excuse therefor. The most common of these are “self-defense” and “defense of others,” where the act was necessary to protect oneself or another from danger.
Some attorneys will interpose the “insanity” defense, or that the accused committed the act, but he was unable to understand that what he was doing was wrong, thereby preventing someone who cannot fully function from suffering prison time. This is a difficult and costly defense, often requiring expert testimony and long-term treatment.
Some have argued that they were so drunk or high on drugs that they were unable to understand their actions. If you were voluntarily drunk or high, such a defense is not likely to succeed. However, if the mind-altering substance was instilled in you involuntarily, this may serve as a valid defense to a crime.
Finally, there is the defense of “entrapment,” where an accused argues that the police or other government agent or entity caused the accused to commit a crime he would not have otherwise committed. Such a defense is highly difficult to prove and is not likely to succeed.
As you can see, looking for a Los Angeles criminal attorney is vital to protecting your rights if you are accused of a crime. There are many possible defenses for an accused, but a lay person without the training and experience to properly use them is doomed to fail and suffer consequences that are likely devastating to family, friends and dependents. For these reasons, retaining a qualified attorney should be your first step after being charged with a crime.