What is an Affirmative Defense to a Criminal Charge?

You might be accustomed to thinking that any criminal defense strategy will rely on defeating the supposed facts brought forth by the prosecution and the state. While this is certainly a good way to shut down the opposition, it is certainly not the only way to do it. With an affirmative defense, you and your criminal defense attorney can take a different approach to your defense by not necessarily defeating evidence, but instead changing it.

In short, an affirmative defense in a criminal case will make an attempt to prove facts that are different than those brought forth by the prosecution. As with any criminal defense tactic, an affirmative defense hopes to either completely halt the prosecution, such as in securing a case dismissal, or at least lessen the charges and potential sentencing if convicted. There are even some instances in which an affirmative defense can be effective by admitting to some form of criminal activity, but not what the prosecution is alleging.

For example: Hank is accused of and charged with drug trafficking after police officers find large amounts of marijuana in his closet during a warranted search. The evidence against Hank is difficult to completely contest, but an affirmative defense could bring forth a different interpretation of the situation. It may be possible to successfully argue Hank did not traffic the drugs at all, and would only be guilty of drug possession, a much less severe charge.

Swapping the Burden of Proof

You should always be cautious when using an affirmative defense strategy in your criminal defense case. Under regular circumstances, the burden of proof rests on the prosecution, but an affirmative defense effectively flips that responsibility. It will be interpreted as your responsibility to prove the new set of facts you state to be the truth in your case. If your affirmative defense includes the admission to another, lesser crime, you need to be all the more cautious to make that claim.

Not sure how you can defend yourself in your criminal case? Wondering if an affirmative defense is even the right idea at all? Do not rely on guesswork for something this important. Instead, come to Brad Bailey Law and let Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Brad Bailey protect your rights. Attorney Bailey is recognized nationwide as a powerful defense lawyer for high stakes crimes, often being featured on major newsgroups like Fox and CNN.

See what his caliber of legal service can do for your defense case. Call (617) 500-0252 now.

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