Legal Defense

Topics: Criminal law, Crime, Criminal justice Pages: 2 (671 words) Published: February 25, 2013
Legal Defenses
Barbara Butler
Harvey Smith

This paper will give brief description on three types of legal defenses and the elements of a crime, how the crime applies to the overall criminal procedure. It also will give a definition to what each element means.

Legal Defenses and Their Definition
A legal defense is one that satisfies all legal requirements of a court case. The three legal defenses I will be describing are insanity, self-defense, and mistake of fact. Insanity-his or her insanity at the time of a crime meant he or she could not rationally form mens rea to commit a criminal act. (Meyer & Grant, 2003) “Being insane at the time of one’s crime is a complete defense to crime. The idea is that the system should not punish people who do not possess mens rea. (Meyer & Grant, 2003) Different country uses the insanity tests. The most common one used is the M’Naqhten Rule, that a person is insane if he or she was doing, or literally did not know it was wrong. Self-defense-his or her actions were meant to protect him or herself from death or serious bodily harm. The victim of an actual or apparent deadly attack may kill another person if it is reasonably necessary to use such force to protect oneself from death or serious bodily harm. (Meyer & Grant, 2003) Self-defense is different from other defenses to crime in that the defendant who claims self-defense is actually asserting that she or he acted appropriately. Mistake of fact- the acts arose from an honest and reasonable mistake, such as accidentally picking up someone else’s umbrella instead of own. Mistake of fact is more akin to innocently switching briefcase at the airport because of being rushed. “Being in aware if or misunderstanding a law is a valid defense only under limited circumstances such as violations of confusing or complicated law like as the tax load. (Meyer & Grant, 2003) Crimes Elements

“There are three elements that must be present...

References: CJI Interactive
Meyer, J. F., & Grant, D. R. (2003). The courts in our criminal justice system. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
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