Defenses (like self defense) to California Crimes


There are a number of defenses available to California crimes.  Below are the most common:

From San Diego Criminal Defense and DUI lawyer, William Daley:

1) Accident

Sometimes an accident happens, and in California we can sometimes use this to excuse alleged crimes.  Assuming you don’t negligently act, and had no criminal intent, this defense could work for you.

2) Alibi

If charged with a  crime… but you couldn’t have done it because at the time you were out of the area… that’s an alibi.

3) Coerced Confessions

Police “brow beating” a confession out of you might be a defense.

  • continuing to question you even after you demand a  lawyer,
  • torturing or punishing you
  • making false statements about not charging you if you confess.

4) Double Jeopardy

You cannot be tried a  second time for the same offense following an acquittal or a conviction.

5) Duress

Have a reasonable believe your life is in immediate danger?  Under California law this may excuse your conduct.

6) Entrapment

So, the police…who were most  likely undercover…convinced you to commit a crime, that would be entrapment.

7) False Accusations / Wrongful Arrest

Angry spouse of bff?  Sometimes this leads to someone attempting to cover up their criminal act.

8) Insanity

This is basically knowing the difference between “right and wrong.”

  1. If you don’t understand the nature of your conduct, OR
  2. you don’t know the difference between from wrong,

then the insanity defense could apply to you.

9) No Probable Cause

Unlawful search or seizure?  The law requires probable cause before the police can detain or arrest you. “Probable cause” is when the reasonable and cautious officer would believe a crime occurred.

No probable cause, a “suppression motion” under Penal Code 1538.5 is the vehicle to eliminate this unlawfully seized evidence, many times with your case being dismissed.

10) Mistaken Identity

Sometimes you, or your cloths, auto, etc. look like “they guy who did it”.

11) Mistake of Fact

Should you do something, honestly and reasonably making mistake of  fact, you may not be criminally responsible.  However, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

12) Necessity

Let’s say your act was done to avoid even greater injury.   Again, acting reasonable under the circumstances, you may not be criminally responsible.

13) Self-Defense / Defense of Others

In Injuring or killing another person and claiming self defense, your conduct needs to be reasonable under the circumstances.

14) Voluntary and Involuntary Intoxication

Voluntary intoxication isn’t generally a good criminal defense. But it could effect the mental state required to commit  certain “specific intent” crimes.

If you are involuntarily intoxicated, that usually give a complete defense to most crimes. Like when you are secretly slipped a drug in your drink… or a doctor prescribed you a  medication, not telling you of the side effects.

I can help…

If you would like more information or, to discuss your case confidentially with a San Diego, California criminal defense lawyer, please contact us.  I practice in all California criminal law courts including San Diego, Vista, El Cajon and Chula Vista (South Bay).

Call us today (619) 238-1905