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Using the Affirmative Defense in Connecticut Criminal Cases

Posted on September 06, 2022 in Criminal Defense

Stamford criminal defense lawyerThe American criminal justice system is based on the principle that every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person who has been charged with the crime is guilty of that crime. If the prosecutor cannot prove the required elements, then the jury must find the accused not guilty.

However, there are some cases where the person arrested for the crime is still acquitted even if the prosecutor was successful in proving their case. In these situations, a criminal defense attorney raises what is legally referred to as an “affirmative defense.”

What Is an Affirmative Defense?

An affirmative defense is one where the accused produces evidence with the goal of negating any criminal liability for the crime for which they have been arrested even if they actually committed the act. Instead of the burden of proof being on the prosecutor to prove that the defendant committed the crime, it is the defendant who must prove that they were justified or had some other excuse for committing the act and therefore should not be punished for it. The prosecutor is not required to disprove this type of defense.

Most Common Examples of Affirmative Defense

One of the most common types of affirmative defenses that can be used is self-defense. A defendant can use self-defense as a way to justify charges of assault, domestic violence, and homicide. In order to be successful, the defendant must prove that they had a reasonable belief there was an immediate danger to either themselves or someone else.

Another common affirmative defense is entrapment. Entrapment happens when a person commits a crime that they would not have committed if it were not for the influence of law enforcement. Solicitation is one common crime where entrapment might be used when a person is arrested during police sting operations.

Statute of Limitations

All crimes in Connecticut, except for murder and other Class A felonies and certain sexual assault crimes, have some statute of limitations attached to them. This means that if the defendant has not been arrested prior to this expiration, they cannot be charged at all.

Contact a Stamford, CT Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a crime, there may be several different options for legal defense available against these charges. Call the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner at 203-348-5846 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our skilled Fairfield County criminal attorneys and find out how we can help.