If you have been arrested for and charged with murder, you are looking at possibly spending the rest of your life behind bars. A criminal defense attorney can work to come up with defenses that may be able to help you be found not guilty of murder or be convicted of a lesser crime that carries a lesser penalty with it. Here are three of the most common defenses that are used to fight a murder charge.
You Are Not the Murderer
One of the most common defenses to a murder charge is that you are not the murdered. You may have an alibi that can show you were not at the crime scene, your attorney may find physical evidence that shows someone else may have been involved, or the attorney can help to show that there were other people who had the opportunity and motive to kill the murdered person. The whole goal associated with this defense is to show you are not guilty and that someone else may be.
The Murder Is Justifiable
Another defense used to fight a murder charge is that the murder is justifiable. In most cases, this is a self defense claim. You may have feared for your life, so, in turn, you may have protected yourself and killed the other party. The rules for justifiable murder vary from state to state, so a criminal defense attorney will work to show that your circumstances fall in this category.
You Had Diminished Capacity
The final common defense used to fight a murder charge is that you had diminished capacity at the time of the murder. You may have been temporarily insane, you may have been intoxicated or high and not realized what you were doing, or you may be mentally incompetent and unable to understand right from wrong. Many times, a diminished capacity charge is used to lessen the charges from something such as murder, in which the prosecutor has to show that you intended to commit murder and knew what you were doing, to lesser crimes, such as manslaughter.
There are many different defenses that are used to fight a murder charge or to help you get the charges against you reduced, which can substantially reduce the amount of time you may be facing behind bars. A criminal defense attorney will work with you to look at all of the evidence and come up with the very best defenses based on your circumstances and the specific situation. Contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you are arrested and charged so they can begin collecting evidence and working on a possible defense.