Most people think of criminal defense strategies as an effort to prove their innocence. People bring in witnesses or scientific experts to prove they couldn’t have committed the crime or to show that someone else clearly did. Layers can also challenge the inclusion of certain evidence, such as confessions made by someone not properly informed of their rights.
Such defense strategies can be a viable solution for those facing certain charges backed by limited or questionable evidence. However, sometimes the state has enough evidence to make a very strong case, and the defendant does not have any reason to challenge the inclusion or validity of that evidence.
For such defendants, an affirmative defense might be the right solution. They can potentially still avoid a criminal conviction despite the evidence the prosecutor has.
What is an affirmative defense?
When a criminal defendant mounts an affirmative defense, they stop trying to raise questions about their involvement in the incident. Instead, they focus on proving that their behavior was not a violation of state law. By changing the narrative around the situation that lead to their arrest, they can potentially avoid conviction.
There are numerous statutes in Texas that take certain behavior that would otherwise lead to a criminal charge and make it technically legal. Self-defense claims in response to charges related to physical violence are an example of an affirmative defense.
Other people raise a claim of incapacity, claiming they did not have the mental ability at the time of the incident to be criminally culpable for it. Some people even claim duress, such as a direct threat against them or a family member, as the reason they may have committed a specific criminal act.
Unique circumstances require a careful approach
Simply asserting your innocence may not be the most effective strategy when the prosecutor has security camera footage or other compelling evidence directly tying you to a specific criminal incident. Still, you may have options for defending yourself against the charges that you face.
Those in unusual circumstances may benefit from an in-depth conversation with a criminal defense attorney familiar with criminal statutes in Texas and affirmative defense strategies. Considering every possible option is an important step for those hoping to fight their pending criminal charges.