Criminal Defenses

Your Criminal Defense Options

Fighting Your Criminal Charges in Los Angeles, CA

If you or someone you love was recently arrested, it is imperative that you seek help from a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as possible. Serious charges require a serious defense, which is why you should waste no time in contacting the team at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners. With more than 70 years of combined legal experience, we know what it takes to win a difficult case. Contact our office today or fill out a free case evaluation form online to get started on your defense!

Defenses that Challenge the Elements of the Crime

One of the most effective defenses is to show that the prosecutor cannot prove every element of the crime. Your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney may attempt to prove that the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to prove that you committed the crime. You can challenge and negate the elements of a crime if one of the following defenses could be proven:

  • Involuntary acts: you could only be convicted of a crime that was committed voluntarily—meaning that, if you acted out of reflex or convulsion, while in a state of unconsciousness or during hypnosis, your lawyer may be able to prove that your actions were involuntary.
  • Mistake of fact: you could only be convicted of a crime if you were reasonably aware that your actions were against the law. If you acted out of ignorance or a misunderstanding of fact (i.e. you lacked criminal intent), you could argue this as a viable defense in your case.
  • Impossibility: this defense could be used if you intended to commit a crime, but legal and factual circumstances prevented it from occurring. For example, if you stole your neighbor's property, but it turns out that it was really yours, you could not be convicted of a theft crime.
  • Abandonment / withdrawal: this defense could be raised if your lawyer can show that you voluntarily and completely abandoned your plan to commit a crime—which does not include situations where you decided to postpone the crime or find a different victim.

Defenses that Seek to Justify Your Actions

If it has been established that you committed a crime, your attorney may still be able to assert an affirmative defense. Justification defenses can be used when a defendant's conduct did not violate the law under the circumstances. In other words, the defendant acted appropriately in a tough situation, and therefore, their actions are justifiable.

  • Self-defense: if you were placed in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death, or even threatened with imminent and grave force, you would be justified in using equal force to protect yourself. For example: you shot an armed robber who aimed their gun at you.
  • Defense of others: if someone else is being attacked, or has been threatened with imminent violence, you would be justified in using force to protect that person. This is similar to the theory of self-defense, with the only difference being that you were defending someone else.
  • Defense of property: under California law, a person is allowed to use a limited amount of force in order to defend their property—with the key word being "limited." Since property is not as valuable as human life, deadly force cannot be used to defend your property.
  • Law enforcement defense: law enforcement officers and those acting on behalf of law enforcement are justified in using force to apprehend suspects and defend their own safety. If a suspect threatens a police officer's life, they may use deadly force to protect themselves.
  • Necessity: this defense can be used when four requirements are met: the defendant faced a "choice of evils," there was no apparent legal alternative, an immediate threat existed, and the defendant chose the lesser harm. However, they must not have caused the necessity.

Defenses that Seek to Excuse Your Actions

Under California law, a defendant may be able to excuse their actions if they have made a socially unacceptable choice due to the fact that they are incapable of controlling their behavior or they do not understand the consequences of their actions. These are known as "excuse defenses," and can be used under a wide range of circumstances.

  • Duress: this defense can be asserted if you were placed in fear of imminent harm. For example, if someone threatened to kill you if you did not commit a crime, your actions could be justified; however, you must be able to prove that you did not recklessly put yourself in that situation.
  • Involuntary intoxication: this defense could be asserted if you committed a crime that you would not have otherwise committed had you been sober. For example: someone slipped drugs into your drink, causing you to hallucinate and subsequently commit a crime.
  • Insanity: if a mental disorder has kept a defendant from knowing that their actions were wrong or against the law, they may be to protect themselves against criminal conviction by using the insanity defense. This particular defense provides a full defense to criminal charges.
  • Entrapment: entrapment refers to the circumstances of a crime under which a defendant was unfairly influenced to commit a crime by law enforcement. Essentially, you would need to prove that you would not have otherwise committed the crime had it not been for undue influence.
  • Infancy: the law excuses the acts of children who are under the age of seven because they are too young to understand the consequences of their actions. Furthermore, minors between the ages of seven and 14 are presumed to be incapable of committing a crime.

Discuss Your Options with Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners

Were you recently charged with a crime in Los Angeles, CA? Discuss your case with a Los Angeles criminal lawyer at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to learn more about your defense options. We have successfully represented clients throughout Los Angeles County for more than seven decades combined, so you can rest easier knowing that our firm is fighting to protect you against the consequences of a conviction.

Serious charges require the assistance of a hard-hitting Los Angeles criminal defense attorney; get the help you need by setting up a free and confidential consultation with our firm.

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