Within criminal law, felonies and misdemeanors are further segmented into different types of criminal acts. As a result, different types of criminal defenses can be made before the courts to plead a case.
Here’s an overview of the different types of criminal defenses that you can make depending on the details of the case.
Personal crimes describe any action that may endanger an innocent person or the lives of a group of innocent people. Under criminal law, these actions can amount to physical harm, psychological harm, or emotional abuse that poses any harm to the victims.
Defending personal crimes in a court of criminal law requires counsel to argue the defendant's perspective on the evidence. Use documents, witness statements, and the defendant’s own testimony to present a provable story to the judge or jury in an effort to minimize the charges.
Any criminal act that results in damage to a victim’s personal property is subject to charges of property crimes. In a court of criminal law, arguing a defense against such property crime charges will depend on the particular circumstances of the case.
Two of the most common criminal law defenses against property crimes are mistake of fact and coercion defenses. In the case of the former, counsel will argue that the defendant made an honest mistake and had no intention of causing any property damage. In the case of the latter, counsel will argue their client was compelled by another party to engage in criminal mischief.
Inchoate crimes are rather common, but the name itself is one of the lesser-used terms in criminal law. Inchoate crimes are actions taken by suspects to engage in more serious crimes, though they may ultimately opt out of following through on their intent. The most common examples of inchoate crimes are attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation.
Within a criminal law court, the most commonly used defense against inchoate crimes is that the defendant abandoned their intent. Therefore, the defense will argue that their actions demonstrate a choice not to commit a criminal act and that any inchoate charges should be dropped.
Statutory crimes refer to any act by an individual that violates statutes within the bounds of criminal law. Statutory crimes not only encompass felonies and petty misdemeanor charges. They also refer to actions that violate legal duties, such as ignoring a summons to appear before a judge.
Criminal law defenses against statutory charges involve the attempt to prove that other external factors contributed to the criminal acts. Commonly cited reasons include intoxication, provocation, or entrapment as reasons that justify the accused actions. In many statutory crime cases, counsel will negotiate a plea bargain to achieve a more lenient sentence from the courts.
Financial crimes describe any action that criminally manipulates financial systems to engineer illegal profits for the perpetrator(s). In criminal law, the most commonly cited examples of financial crimes include fraud, bribery, theft, tax evasion, insider trading, or market manipulation.
Another term used to describe financial crimes is white-collar crime. These crimes are generally non-violent acts of criminality, though there are still victims of financial schemes. In criminal law, most white-collar crimes involve incidents of public corruption, money laundering, and different forms of fraud. Commonly used defenses for financial crimes involve proving a lack of intent to commit the felonies.