Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Florida Legal Article: Attorneys Milton


At trial, prosecutors must prove to the jury that the defendant has, beyond a reasonable doubt, committed the crime he or she has been accused of.  Attorneys in Milton have the task of presenting a defense for criminal clients.  Applicable defenses can include “I didn’t do it” to “I did it, but didn’t know what I did was wrong at the time I did it.”  Milton attorneys may recommend using one or more of the following defenses:

I Didn’t Do It!

Most defendants instruct their attorneys, in Milton or other parts of Florida, to plead innocent to crimes on their behalf because they “didn’t do it.”

I Have an Alibi!

Defendants often adopt alibi defenses at the advice of their Milton attorneys.  An alibi means they claim to have been somewhere rather than the crime scene when the crime was committed.  For this defense to have a chance at success, the defendant must put forth evidence that corroborates his or her claim of having an alibi.  Examples of evidence that backs up an alibi includes witnesses testifying that they saw the defendant elsewhere at the time in question, or video surveillance placing the defendant elsewhere.

I Did It, But…

Certain defenses allow defendants to avoid punishment even when prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did, in fact, commit the crime.  Those defenses can include:

I Had to Do It!:

Criminal defense attorneys in Milton can argue that their defendants acted in self-defense when accused of committing violent crimes such as assault, battery, or murder.  When using this type of defense, the defendant admits that he or she committed the crime but that he or she was either in immediate danger or had reasonable cause to believe so.  The following questions play into proving self-defense:
 

  • Who was the aggressor?
  • Was the defendant’s belief that self-defense was necessary a reasonable one?
  • If so, was the force used by the defendant also reasonable?

The doctrine of self-defense is predicated upon the belief that people should have the right to defend themselves from physical harm, or even the threat of physical harm.  The law dictates that individuals have the right to strike first to prevent an attack if a reasonable person faced with the same circumstances would believe he or she was about to be physically attacked.  It also provides the caveat, however, that he or she may not use more force than is strictly necessary to prevent the attack.

I Was Insane!:

Our society believes that defendants should only be punished for committing crimes when able to control their behavior and understand that whatever act they committed was wrong at the time they committed it.  For that reason, Milton attorneys sometimes use the insanity defense for their clients, since this defense was created to protect individuals suffering from mental disorders that make them unable to tell right from wrong.  It’s important to note that the insanity defense is rarely successful when used at trial.

I Was Wasted!:

Sometimes, Milton attorneys will argue that clients committed crimes while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and that their mental faculties were thus so impaired that the government shouldn’t hold them accountable for any crimes committed during that impairment.  The government takes a dim view of this defense however, typically holding that defendants who are voluntarily intoxicated know or should have known that alcohol and drugs would impair their mental faculties and thus, they should be held fully liable for any crimes committed.

The Government Made Me Do It!:

Attorneys in Milton may advise clients to use an “entrapment” defense.  Entrapment means that the government coerced or induced a person to commit a crime that he or she would not have committed otherwise–and then tries to punish him or her for that crime.  This defense can backfire, though, if the judge or jury believes that a suspect would have committed the crime in question anyway, and defendants who have been previously convicted for a similar crime will usually have a tough time providing entrapment.

A Milton attorney may advise a criminal defense client facing a punishment of six or more months of incarceration to waive his or her right to a jury trial in certain situations, either by pleading guilty or choosing a bench trial–one which a judge presides over and decides, in addition to handing down sentence.  In a bench trial, the judge performs the same fact-finding function that a jury usually provides.

Criminal defendants are also granted the right to an appeals process.  Depending upon the nature of the crime, that process will vary, although time deadlines for filing appeals will always apply.  Defendants should educate themselves about any applicable time deadlines and make sure that their Milton attorneys do not miss those deadlines.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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