What is an example of a defense to criminal liability

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					What is an example of a defense to criminal liability? How do defenses to criminal liability differ
from other criminal defenses? Explain.


        A defense to a criminal liability includes claims such as that one only violated the law
because one had to protect oneself from harm (self-defense) or that one was unable to control
one’s actions (as in a case where one has an insanity defense). A defense to criminal liability
must be proven, however, just as guilt must be proven. People need to appear before the court
and provide evidence and facts that indicate that the defenses they claim did fit their actions and
were necessary or prevented them from being criminally liable. Defenses to criminal liability are
different from other criminal defenses in that the person who claims a defense indicates that they
did commit the illegal action they are accused of having committed, but that there a reasons
which relieve them of criminal liability for their actions. In other words, to have a defense to
criminal liability means that one is guilty of the illegal action, but has a defense to avoid criminal
punishment for the action.

Is there a better solution to the way in which criminal liability is defended from a legal
standpoint? Explain.

        There is not a better solution to the way in which criminal liability is defended from a
legal standpoint. The defenses used in criminal liability fulfill two important purposes. First, they
require a person to be charged with a criminal action to indicate that a public wrong has been
committed. However, so that the law works to properly protect society and to ensure that trials
and the criminal justice system are just, the law then allows the guilty party to present evidence
that will relieve him or her of criminal liability. In this way the system works to record a wrong
but not to punish someone for a wrong he or she had no ability to control or was unable to
control. If society did not recognize that a legal wrong occurred then people would start to
believe that “special privileges” are afforded some members of society. By ensuring that all
persons, regardless of social rank or status, must obey the law, but providing persons who truly
have a defense the ability to defend against a criminal act, society is fair and honors the legal
system.

When may force be used in self-defense? When may deadly force be used?

        Self-defense allows a person to use force when he or she faces force from another. Self-
defense permits a person to use a reasonable amount of force, and normally only that which is
equal to the force that he or she faces, in self defense. Deadly force in self-defense is permitted
only where a person must protect his life or that of another and only when he or she is threatened
by, or believes he or she will be facing, deadly force. For example, a body builder will not be
likely to convince a court that he had to use deadly force to protect himself from the attack of an
unarmed, skinny, short, 16 year old boy. Likewise, a person who uses deadly force against a
trespasser who threatens to walk on the grass and is unarmed, will not be able to plead self-
defense. It is not an easy defense to plead and all acts of “defense” are not self defense.

				
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posted:9/30/2012
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