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What is an Affirmative Defense?

Many people choose to defend themselves by admitting their conduct, but having an explanation or extenuating circumstance that mitigates their guilt. This is called an “affirmative defense” and it may be the key to a not guilty verdict. A Portland defense lawyer can examine your situation to see if an affirmative defense may be applicable to your case. If so, they will work to prove that your conduct was based on some underlying factor that should preclude your guilt.

A common example of an affirmative defense is self-defense. For example, if you are charged with murder but can prove that you acted in self-defense, the jury will be forced to return a verdict of not guilty. Since there is a common law right to defend yourself, you ultimately can’t be charged with murder for defending yourself.

It should be noted that any self-defense should be commensurate with the threat you faced. An example might be someone fist fighting, only to get shot by the other person. It may be possible to be charged with a crime in this circumstance, so don’t assume that self-defense will instantly get you off for your crime.

If you do raise this defense, the burden of proof will fall upon you to prove your claim. If you claim that the other person was rushing at you and you feared for your life, you will need to produce evidence of this claim. A defense lawyer will hire experts and investigators to prove your affirmative defense. This can be the difference between a not guilty verdict and a significant amount of time in jail.

At Kroll & Johnson, we will work to prove your affirmative defense and achieve the best outcome possible for your particular case. We have successfully defended a variety of clients and will put that experience to work for you. For a free consultation to discuss your charged with a defense lawyer, contact Kroll & Johnson today.

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