This is the second post in our series about possible defenses to Wisconsin criminal charges. Some of these may apply to you. If they do, you can rest assured that we will leave no stone unturned as we fight for your legal rights. With that in mind, here are some additional ways that you can dispute the criminal charges against you and either have the case thrown out of court or win acquittal from a judge or jury.
Coercion or Duress
This is another way to argue that you lacked the necessary intent to commit the crime. When you are under duress, you are not necessarily in your proper frame of mind to make the decision to commit the crime. Instead, you are doing it to protect yourself or someone close to you. Duress requires that you believe that you or someone else is in imminent physical danger of great bodily harm if you do not commit the crime. This is the classic defense of someone else saying, “commit this crime, or I will kill you.” This defense is not easily proven because it is a rather extreme situation.
It is a fundamental principle of the United States Constitution that you can only be tried once for the same set of facts. While you could have federal and state trials, if you have been acquitted of a crime, the prosecution cannot come back and try you again for it. While you have the right to ask for a new trial in certain circumstances, the prosecution does not have it. This is meant to protect you from repeated prosecution. In your case, an acquittal means an acquittal, although prosecutors have the right to try you again after a mistrial.
This is a common defense in drug cases or sex crimes when police have run a sting operation. Here, law enforcement has used questionable tactics to get you to commit a crime that you would otherwise not have committed, so they can make an arrest. Usually, if police try to buy or sell drugs from someone, and that person says no, that “no” should be final. The same thing should happen when they approach someone online and push them into committing solicitation. While sting operations are an important tool for law enforcement, they cannot be overbearing when they are using them. The principle here is that the government cannot “originate a criminal design, implant in an innocent person’s mind the disposition to commit a criminal act, and then induce commission of the crime so that the Government may prosecute.”
The Government Cannot Prove the Crime
It is the government’s obligation to affirmatively prove every single element of the crime. Theoretically, you would not even need to do anything in your case, but make the government prove everything. Of course, your attorney will use all available defenses, but one of the main responses that defendants have in trials is that the government has not proven their case. They need facts and testimony to back up all of their claims. If the crime requires intent, the state needs to prove that you acted intentionally, and this is not always easy for them to do. Your lawyer would simply argue that the government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard in every criminal law trial.
While it has gotten tougher to use this defense, any criminal defendant must have the mental and intellectual capacity to make a decision to commit a crime. There are many cases where the defendant will argue that they are not guilty by reason of insanity. This means that they are not in the right frame of mind to make the decision to commit the crime. The defendant needs to have sufficient capacity to understand that what they are doing is wrong and breaks the law. This is a defense that requires your lawyer to prove in court, and it cannot simply be claimed. This would require an extensive psychiatric evaluation and testimony from experts. Even still, this is not always an easy defense to prove to the judge at a competency hearing.
In addition, the defendant needs the intellectual capacity to be able to understand the proceedings and participate in their own defense at trial. This is a defense used when the defendant is mentally handicapped. This is not so much of a defense as it is a bar to prosecution. Law enforcement cannot bring a case against someone who cannot understand what they are facing. Your lawyer could raise this at any time during the case against you, and they can even share with the court communications that they had with you to show that you do not comprehend what is happening.
You can still be convicted of a crime if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when committing it. However, this is when you have chosen to consume alcohol or use drugs. In some cases, you may have been drugged. When that happens, you did not make a choice to commit the crime, such that intent could be proven. Where this is important is if you were intoxicated by prescription medication. This is a common defense, and it could be considered involuntary because you did not know that the medication would have an effect on you. The key is that you did not make a conscious choice to become intoxicated or influenced, and you could not tell right from wrong at the time.
Call Us Today to Speak to an Appleton Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
The criminal defense attorneys at Hogan Eickhoff will tirelessly search for any defense available to you and vigorously work to use it in court if you decide to fight the charges. We are gloves off trial attorneys and compassionate counselors who believe that everyone deserves the best legal defense. Contact us today at (920) 450-9800 to schedule your free initial consultation. This is a call that cannot be delayed if you have been charged with a crime because your legal rights are at stake.