What is an Affirmative Defense?

There are many ways Chicago criminal defense attorneys can defend their clients – and one of those ways is through the use of an affirmative defense. So what are affirmative defenses, and how do they work? This guide explains. 

What is an Affirmative Defense?

An affirmative defense is a defense strategy in which the defendant’s attorney introduces evidence that shows the defendant isn’t criminally liable for the crime. In plain English, that means that your lawyer will bring in evidence that shows that the jury shouldn’t find you guilty because there was a valid reason you committed the crime.

Related: Should you answer questions when the police interrogate you?

Examples of Affirmative Defenses

Some examples of affirmative defenses include:

  • Self-defense. Self-defense is the use of force to protect yourself from someone else. 
  • Entrapment. Entrapment is what happens when police officers acquire evidence against you by getting you to commit a crime that you wouldn’t have ordinarily committed. 
  • Insanity. Though it’s not the best word choice, insanity is the term used for a mental defect or disease that makes it impossible for you to understand your actions (or to understand that your actions are wrong). 
  • Necessity. If you had no other choice but to commit a crime, your attorney may use a necessity defense. For example, if you had to drive on a suspended license to get to a phone to call for emergency services because someone was driving, that’s a crime of necessity.

Is an Affirmative Defense Right for You?

Your lawyer can determine whether an affirmative defense is the right strategy in your case. Every case is different – and the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime and your arrest will help your lawyer figure out whether an affirmative defense is right in your situation. Your lawyer will be there to protect your rights every step of the way, and he’ll ensure that you get the best possible outcome.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?

If you’ve been accused of a crime, we may be able to help you – and don’t worry: It’s completely confidential. Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below to schedule your free, private consultation with an experienced and skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney now.

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