Ottawa Criminal Lawyer: What Defences Are Available to Me? – Defences Available When You’ve Been Charged With a Crime

When criminal matters are being talked about in the media common points of discussion are often bail hearings, guilt or innocence, prison sentences and other possible consequences.  Very rarely do you hear about possible defences available to people who have committed a crime with reasonable justification for their actions.

The Ottawa Criminal Defence Lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth can tell you that certain defences are available to individuals who may have committed a crime because there was no reasonable alternative to breaking the law in that specific instance.  The offence must also be proportional to the harm that would have been caused had the offence not occurred.

There are five main defences that can be used to make a case when someone is charged with a criminal offence.  They can be used to decrease the severity of an individual’s sentence or may even be used as a basis for acquittal.

1.      Provocation

Provocation can be used as a defence in cases where one’s passion is suddenly triggered by another’s actions.  The defendant must be provoked by an action that is considered to be wrong and would cause any average person to lose self control.  For provocation to be justifiably used as a defence the individual must have responded very quickly to the specific act, before they had time to think about what they were doing.

2.      Necessity

Necessity is a form of defence that applies to urgent situations where an individual had no other choice of action.  This means that an individual must be faced with a real threat or danger that they believe will be present in the immediate future.  The situation must make it impossible for the individual to follow the law.

3.      Duress

This defence comes into play when an individual is faced with a threat of immediate death or serious bodily harm.  The threat has to be made by someone who is physically present.  The defence is only valid if an individual commits a crime to address the threat because they really believe it will be carried out.

4.      Self Defence

Self Defence is the one most people have heard of.  It seems self-explanatory but it is important to be aware of conditions on its use.

For Self Defence to be applicable, the individual must be defending themselves from an assault and must not intend to cause death or serious bodily harm.  The amount of force one uses to defend themselves must be reasonable given the situation.

5.      Defence of Property

A person may behave in a way that is reasonable in the situation in order to protect their property.

Speak to an experienced Ottawa Criminal Defence Lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth about your case.  While these defences are helpful to individuals who have committed certain crimes because of specific circumstances, they are by no means available for everyone to use.  They are available only to cases where very strict criteria are met.  An Ottawa Criminal Defence Lawyer can explain to you exactly when these defences can be used.