Defenses to Criminal Charges

Maricopa County Lawyer for DUI Defense

The circumstances of your arrest and the charges you face will influence what defenses should be pursued. If you are concerned about potential defenses to criminal charges, you should call James E. Novak. As a Maricopa County criminal defense attorney, he is attuned to the strategies used by prosecutors and knows how to determine the strongest available strategy to defend each charge, as well as how the various potential defenses for a single charge would impact the ability to be successful on another one.

Defenses to Criminal Charges

You likely find it terrifying to be charged with a crime. It can be anxiety-producing. You may feel the deck is stacked against you. However, you should never assume a conviction is inevitable. Even when a case looks hopeless, an experienced trial attorney can evaluate what the strongest and most favorable defense strategy for your specific case would be. In some cases, this involves a plea deal; our experience also allows our principal to know when it’s appropriate to take a case to trial.

For many defenses to criminal charges, witnesses must come to the stand to give expert opinions. We ask experts to testify when their testimony would help the jury understand technical issues. Accordingly, we need to select experts in the specific issue at hand who also have strong reputations and resumes. They must be able to speak credibly, while also providing judge and laypeople with access to technical information. We must be able to figure out whether an expert would make a good witness; whether legal counsel can make that determination depends partly on trial experience and talent. Taking cases to trial allows Maricopa County attorneys to see what types of defense strategies work with prosecutor, judge, and jury.


Apart from your alibi, as you supply it, our Tempe firm may need to provide proof you weren’t the one who perpetrated the crime. For instance, if three witnesses saw you reading at the library ten miles from the scene of the crime in the window of time in which it happened, we would be able to show evidence beyond your word. Alibis are tactics in which the defendant isn’t present at the scene of the crime when it is perpetrated. Alibis usually require evidence from witnesses.


Duress is an affirmative defense to being charged with a crime. It can be tricky to determine whether duress applies and whether it is a smart strategy given the particulars of a case. Courts look at whether a reasonable person in the same situation would believe they had to perpetrate an act due to the threat of an immediate use of force that could result in a serious injury, which a reasonable person in the situation would not have resisted.


When you weren’t predisposed to perpetrate the crime at issue, our Tempe attorneys may be able to raise entrapment. As with duress, you’d need to admit to a crime for us to raise the defense. It is wise not to try to mount this defense on your own, as admitting you committed a crime without consulting your own counsel can be dangerous and when your freedom is at stake, you should talk to counsel that understands the nuances and consequences of potential strategies.

Presumption of Innocence

Defendants in criminal actions are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty. The burden of proof in a criminal charge is whether your guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution. Under some circumstances, it is appropriate to raise reasonable doubt as a defense to a charge. In other situations, the best approach is to raise reasonable doubt about a first-degree offense in order to secure a plea deal for a second-degree offense.

Self Defense or Defense of Others

When a violent crime such as assault is charged, it may be appropriate to raise self-defense or defense of others. You are entitled to use or threaten force against someone else if you do it right away to protect yourself against their use of illegal physical force against you.

Hire Seasoned Maricopa County DUI Defense Law Firm

Appropriate defenses to criminal charges depend on the situation. Whether you’ve been charged with a drug crime or aggravated assault, you must retain a knowledgeable trial attorney. James E. Novak may be able to represent you. He represents those accused in Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.

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