Articles Tagged with Top Criminal Defenses

Not all defenses to crimes in Michigan are discussed in this blog.  Some of these defenses do not apply to certain offenses, or may not be allowed by a trial Court based upon case law and judicial interpretation.  You should always seek the advice of an experienced attorney such as Attorney Daniel Hilf  as to which, if any of these defenses, are applicable to your situation.  The defenses are listed in alphabetical order.

Abandonment and Renunciation – These are affirmative defenses.  Voluntary abandonment is when the Defendant repents or has a genuine change of heart.  Abandonment is not voluntary when the Defendant fails to complete the attempted crime because of unanticipated difficulties, unexpected resistance, circumstances which increase the probability of detention or apprehension, or when the Defendant decides to postpone the criminal conduct to another time or with a different victim.  Abandonment that is not voluntary is not a defense to the crime.  Voluntary abandonment requires the Defendant to show by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she gave up the idea of committing the crime.  It must be a choice of free will, and the abandonment of the crime must be complete.  Abandonment can occur at any time before the crime is actually completed or before it becomes impossible to avoid completing it (for example, you cannot argue abandonment of a murder after the victim has already been shot).  Renunciation, pursuant to MCL 750.157b(4), states that it is an affirmative defense to a prosecution that under circumstances manifesting a voluntary and complete renunciation of his or her criminal purpose, the actor notified the person solicited of his or her renunciation and either gave timely warning and cooperation to law enforcement authorities or otherwise made a substantial effort to prevent the performance of the criminal conduct commanded or solicited, provided that the conduct does not occur.  The Defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence.  If the allegation is solicitation of a murder and the Defendant merely refuses to pay the hit man   (expecting that the hit man would not go forward with the crime) does not meet the requirements of renunciation without contacting law enforcement or taking additional steps to prevent the crime.

Accident means that the Defendant did not intend to commit a specific crime, and that something occurred through a mishap or unexpectedly.  For example, a Defendant could argue that an unintentional penetration occurred under what was normally a lawful activity such as changing a baby’s diaper, bathing a child, or a doctor performing a medical procedure.  In Criminal Sexual Conduct cases the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the penetration was for a sexual purpose.

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