Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jason Barnette – TN Criminal Defense Lawyer

Barnette Law Offices, LLC Criminal Defense Strategies

There are many defenses used by suspects when accused with committing a crime.  There are specific defenses that are only used in certain instances, such as special defenses for a woman who injures or kills someone who had a history of abusing her.  There are a few commonly used defenses which are explained in this article.  For more detailed information regarding criminal defenses, it would be wise to contact an experience criminal defense attorney at Barnette Law Offices, LLC in Nashville, Tennessee . 

Presumption of Innocence

The most important, and most often used, defense is the presumption of innocence.  In our judicial system, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  A defendant does not have to say or do anything in his defense to prove his innocence.  Rather, the burden of proof rests with the police and the prosecutor.  He must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard in our system.  Few cases have enough solid evidence to allow no room for a reasonable doubt. 

Establish an Alibi

If a defendant can prove he has an alibi, the charges may be dismissed.  If he can show he was somewhere other than the scene of the crime at the time of the crime, then he has an alibi.  Some alibis are more credible than others.  If he has a credible alibi, it would likely be enough to plant a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury and the defendant would be found not guilty. 

Proving there was No Intent

Even if it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect committed the crime, a defendant can still be found “not guilty” if he can prove he acted in self defense, was entrapped, was insane, was under the influence of a drug or otherwise did not intend to commit the crime.  Most crimes have a required element of specific intent.  A person must intend to commit the crime in order to be found guilty of the crime.  For example, if a person takes a car with the intention of returning it to its rightful owner, it is not considered larceny in Tennessee.  If a person takes a car and does not intend to return it to its rightful owner, it is then larceny under Tennessee law.  A person’s actions and the surrounding circumstances are used to determine the person’s intent.  The intent element is a factor in the insanity defense.


A person who is insane at the time of the crime cannot possibly have the required intent to know what he is doing and to intend to act in a certain way.  It is an inherent philosophy in our legal system that it is unfair to punish someone who is incapable of understanding their own actions or the consequences of the actions.


Another defense a suspect can claim even if there is no reasonable doubt regarding the criminal act is self-defense.  In certain circumstances, a person is entitled to act in order to protect his person, property and family.  The rules regarding self-defense are complicated and varied depending on who or what is in jeopardy of being harmed.  If a defendant makes a claim of self-defense, it is up to the prosecution to prove it was not a situation of self-defense.


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