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Defending Yourself: You're Innocent Until Proven Guilty


When defending yourself against a criminal charge is necessary, you need to make sure you do it correctly. Remember, while you may need to build a strong case for your defense, it's not your job to prove yourself innocent. It's actually the prosecution's job to prove that you're guilty. Without enough evidence that you've done something wrong, there is no real case against you.

What are your options if you have to defend yourself?

If you do need to defend yourself against charges, you'll have two main options. The first is to claim that you didn't do what you've been accused of. The second is to say that you did, in fact, commit the crime but shouldn't be held responsible. You're always innocent until it can be proven that you're actually guilty, so you do have the choice of staying quiet and pleading the fifth. That means you're choosing not to say anything that could incriminate you. You do not have to provide anything that could be used as evidence against you.

The prosecution also has to prove that you committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It's easy to make connections between people and actions, but can the prosecution prove that it was you beyond any doubts that might be present? Do you have an alibi that can dissuade some jurors from thinking you may be guilty or make a judge concerned that you may be innocent and shouldn't be facing the penalties suggested? Anything you can do to throw off the so-called evidence will work in your favor.

Source: FindLaw, "Defending Yourself Against A Criminal Charge," accessed July 07, 2016