Types of Criminal Defenses

Rispoli & Borneo P.C.

Being charged with a crime means that you will likely be required to endure a lengthy criminal trial Not in your wildest dreams did you think you would find yourself in such an unfortunate predicament. Employing the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney will be an important aspect to the case and may mitigate your chances of a guilty verdict. The following includes some of the most common criminal defenses an attorney may argue depending on the details of the case.


This type of defense is utilized when a person has been accused of a crime that was of a violent nature; but was the result of the defendant protecting themselves. This type of defense is rather complex as details surrounding its’ use vary depending on the state you reside. Self-defense may be considered a legitimate defense if the person was responding as the result of a threat that was right before them.


Argues that although the criminal act occurred, it was the result of consent on the part of the victim. This is often the type of defense that is used in sex crimes such as rape.

Insanity Defense

This argues that the person who committed the crime was insane and not in their right mind at the time the crime was committed. It also states that the person is not able to distinguish the difference between right and wrong. When this type of defense is accepted, it could lead to a lesser sentence.

Affirmative Defense

Is when the person who has been accused of the crime, admits that they have done so but, claims that there were certain elements at play. This type of defense argues that a person should be made the exception for their wrong doings. To utilize this type of defense the accused must:

  • Admit that they committed the crime
  • Evidence that proves the person committed the crime based on a specific situation

Coercion and Distress

Coercion and distress is when a person commits a crime due to pressure from another because they feel threatened by the other person. An attorney will argue that by not committing the crime will result in serious physical injury, and the person is not able to remove himself or herself from the situation. It is commonly argued in murder cases that duress is not an appropriate defense.

If you find that you are under investigation or are being charged with a crime, retaining legal counsel will be a vital next step. A criminal lawyer Fairfax VA relies on will be able to protect your interests and manage the legal process so that you don’t have to worry during an already stressful time. Most attorneys offer consultations free of charge to discuss the information regarding your case, making the initial consultation, risk free.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Virginia Crime & Traffic Law Firm for their insight into criminal law.


The legal firm of Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. has successfully represented many criminal defense cases. Our attorneys are here to help. Contact Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. today for a free initial consultation.