In order for there to be responsibility for criminal action, there has to be criminal intent. There are different types of criminal intent, from specific intent to criminal negligence.
There are also several defenses to crimes. These defenses can include such things as insanity, diminished capacity, self-defense, or consent. There are numerous other defenses to certain allegations of criminal activity.
There are numerous types of activities involved in a police investigation. These vary and can include gathering physical evidence, examination of witnesses, and crime scene investigations. It is important for the police to preserve evidence.
The police report is one of the key documents in any criminal investigation. The reason that it is so important is simply that it contains all the notes, impressions, facts, witness statements, and other information needed to establish a case or document an event.
Police reports are not always accurate, but are usually relied upon by investigators.
Complicated investigations can occur involving ballistics, forensic science and DNA matching. DNA analysis occurs when genetic material is used to perform certain identity tests. The procedure of DNA testing becomes very complicated in the analysis of exclusion or non-exclusion. Non-exclusion may then be measured by certain statistical observations of a population.
The police often use informers in drug cases. This practice may involve one person already in legal trouble making an arrangement to seek leniency in his own case by helping the police. Informers often times have less than perfect criminal histories and motives. Nevertheless, the practice is still used, and often successfully.
In general, it is a defense to an assault category of crime if one is acting in self-defense. However, self-defense may not be available under many circumstances.
Before one can assert the defense of self-defense, it must be established that the defendant is not the aggressor, and that he is under a reasonable belief that there is a danger of great bodily harm or death. A defendant must also have no way to retreat and his only recourse must be by repelling the attack by physical force.
The degree of force must be proportional to the attack made and when that force has accomplished its task, the further use of that force must cease. For example, if a defendant is attacked with a fist, he cannot use a gun to shoot his assailant in self-defense. One key element in self-defense is that once it is asserted and supported by the evidence, the burden of proof shifts to the prosecutor to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
Self-defense in one’s home is different from defense in other venues. A person assaulted in his own dwelling is not bound to retreat but may resist attack.
Entrapment In Michigan
The question may arise, especially in drug cases, as to whether or not a defendant has been entrapped into the crime he has committed. Entrapment may be a defense to the crime charged. In other words, perhaps a defendant sells drugs to an undercover police officer. In Michigan the test for entrapment is an objective test. The objective test is whether the actions of the police were so reprehensible under the circumstances to permit a conviction to stand. The objective test allows consideration of the circumstances of the defendant in determining whether whether the police conduct induced the commission of the crime. The real test is whether the police conduct would induce a law-abiding citizen in the defendant’s circumstances to commit a crime or whether the police conduct was so reprehensible that the Court cannot tolerate such conduct.
The question of entrapment is for the Judge to decide. In Michigan a jury does not get to decide the case of entrapment. The burden of proof would be on the defendant to show entrapment by a preponderance of the evidence.
General Examples Regarding Entrapment
An undercover agent’s offer to purchase drugs would not constitute entrapment. Police use of a mature-looking 19-year-old to purchase liquor does not constitute entrapment. However, entrapment may be found if an informant induces a defendant to sell drugs because the defendant was afraid of the informant and would be harmed if he didn’t sell the drugs.
Your Rights In A Criminal Case
In a criminal case, these are some of your basic rights:
- To plead guilty or not guilty or to stand mute. If you stand mute, a plea of not guilty will be entered. You may plead no contest with the permission of the court.
- To have a trial by judge or jury.
- To have the assistance of an attorney.
- To call witnesses to speak for you at trial. You may get an order signed by the court to require witnesses to come to court.
- To see, hear, and question all witnesses against you at trial.
- To be a witness for yourself or to remain silent. If you choose not to be a witness on your own behalf, the prosecuting official may not comment on your refusal to testify.
- To be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
I. “Better Call Stahl” Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyer
Gerald R Stahl is conveniently located in Grand Rapids on East Beltline near the 63rd District Court, he has represented clients throughout Michigan, including the communities of Grand Rapids, Caledonia, Wayland, Lowell, Spring Lake, Coopersville, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, Grandville, Holland, Muskegon, Grand Haven, Rockford, Cedar Springs, Greenville, Ionia and Kentwood as well as Allegan County, Ottawa County, Kent County, Kalamazoo County, Ionia County, Barry County, Newaygo County, Muskegon County, and Montcalm County.
Gerald R. Stahl, has the knowledge and experience you deserve in a criminal case. Call Gerald R Stahl for a confidential appointment at 616-456-7372.
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