Common Criminal Defense Strategies

Criminal defense litigation is one of the most challenging areas of the law. Regardless of whether you believe your client is guilty, your job is to give them a strong defense and try to get their charges reduced or dismissed. Everyone has the right to legal representation and a fair trial under the law, which is why criminal defense lawyers stay in business.

Being a criminal defense lawyer doesn’t always mean you’re putting criminals back on the street. There are many circumstances when individuals are charged with crimes they didn’t commit or they’re given harsher penalties than they deserve. As a defense attorney, you can help these individuals seek justice and get a second chance at life. 

Lack of Sufficient Evidence

While each criminal case will vary depending on the charge and the complexity of the situation, there are some common defense strategies you can use to help your clients win. One of the most common criminal defense strategies is to argue that there’s a lack of sufficient evidence.

The goal in any criminal case is to place reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. If you can convince the jury that there isn’t enough evidence to prove that your client is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, this defense strategy may be useful. 


If your client has been charged with a crime such as assault, you may use self-defense as a strong argument in their case. There are many situations where an individual gets involved in a violent altercation and someone presses charges without considering the context of the situation. If an individual commits a crime out of self-defense, their charges can be reduced or dropped completely.


Entrapment is a common defense used is many criminal cases. A police officer can’t set-up a situation that causes an individual to commit a crime and then arrest them for that crime. For example, if a police officer goes undercover and tries to pressure an innocent person into buying drugs, this would be considered entrapment. Entrapment is illegal because the police are provoking the crime.

Police Misconduct

While entrapment is one form of police misconduct, the police can also misbehave in other ways that end up working in the favor of your defendant later on. If the police don’t read the defendant their Miranda Rights during the arrest, act violently during the arrest, or break the law in any other way, these actions can negate the initial crime committed.

Accidental Crime

Some crimes are committed accidentally and, when this is the case, you may use this as a defense strategy for your client. While committing a crime accidentally won’t always let the defendant off the hook, it may help in reducing their charges.

Studying these defense strategies as a lawyer can be helpful as you gain new clients and work with various types of criminal cases. While each case is unique, you may begin learning how defense strategies apply to cases in different ways. Hopefully, these ideas will get your thoughts flowing for the future.