• Types of Criminal Defense Strategies

Types of Criminal Defense Strategies

If you have been charged with a crime, the consequences can include significant fines, potential jail time, and a lasting mark on your record. For these reasons, you should consider preparing a defense strategy to protect your legal rights. Consider visiting with St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Sean McQuaid at (727) 381-2300 to learn about different criminal defense strategies, and which ones would be right for your unique circumstances.

Perspective and Evidence

Evidence is necessary for a criminal conviction but perspective is equally important. A criminal defense attorney and a prosecutor can look at the same information with two different perspectives and create two different stories. An experienced criminal defense attorney will not only find the truth in the evidence but explain mitigating circumstances in situations where a crime may have been committed but there was an explanation that allows a defendant to receive a lesser sentence, or remove the charges completely.

Your Perspective Matters

A criminal defense strategy will involve the facts and also the perspective of their client. Your perspective falls into one of three categories:


In this case, a person confesses to the crime in front of law enforcement. However, a confession alone can still be inadmissible in court if, for example, law enforcement failed to provide your Miranda Rights. A confession to a crime does not automatically result in a conviction.

Complete Denial

This scenario involves a person completely denying committing the crime. Different criminal defense strategies for this perspective can involve alibis or evidence proving that the person did not commit the crime in question.

Admit and Explain

The last legal option is to confess to the crime but then explain the extenuating circumstances. There are certainly cases where a crime was committed but there is an explanation that allows for a reasonable legal defense. Some important criminal defense strategies in Florida include self-defense or a legitimate defense of another innocent person.

Criminal Defense Strategies When A Person Did Not Commit the Crime

An experienced criminal defense attorney in Florida will review your perspective and the circumstances surrounding your case in addition to legal arguments in order to develop criminal defense strategies. Some of the types of criminal defense strategies a criminal defense attorney may use include the following:

Lack of Proof

If a person did not commit the crime for which they are charged, the person has a legal responsibility to prove to the judge and potentially the jury that they did not commit the crime by challenging the evidence and demonstrating that there is a legal lack of proof. This can include proving that witness testimonies are false or incorrect or pointing out errors made by law enforcement.


An alibi serves as definitive proof that you were not at the scene of the crime when the crime was committed. Reliable alibis prove that you were at a restaurant (through a receipt), at work (through timesheets), or a social event (through witnesses).

Criminal Defense Strategies When A Person Did Commit the Crime But There Were Extenuating Circumstances

If a person did commit the crime in question but there were extenuating circumstances, there are several criminal defense strategies available including the following:


Under Section 776.012 of the Florida Statutes, a person is legally allowed to use self-defense to protect himself or herself in situations where their safety is in question. This law is colloquially referred to as the “Stand Your Ground law”, legally entitling you to stand your ground. Florida state law does not have a duty to retreat, which means you are not legally obligated to run away instead of defending yourself in situations where you reasonably believe that self-defense is necessary. The law further delineates between non-deadly force in self-defense and deadly force in self-defense. There are many situations where non-deadly force is legally allowed but one situation where deadly force is allowed.

Non-Deadly Force

Florida Statute Section 766.013 states that if you are in your home or vehicle and someone unlawfully entered, remained in your home or vehicle, or attempted to remove you from your home or vehicle against your will, the law presumes you have a reasonable fear of imminent death or of bodily harm allowing you to use the criminal defense strategy of self-defense.

Deadly Force

Florida Statute Section 782.02 states that a person is justified in using deadly force if someone else is attempting to murder them or commit a felony upon them.

In these situations, a strong defense strategy involves proving that you reasonably believed you were in imminent danger and legally justified in taking violent action to protect yourself. Consider contacting St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Sean McQuaid to learn if these types of criminal defense strategies would be appropriate in your circumstances.


Florida statute 777.201 states a person can be acquitted of a crime if that crime was committed because an undercover officer coerced or forced that person into committing the crime. When a law enforcement officer encourages or induces an individual to commit a crime in order to obtain evidence, they can use this as a potential defense.

Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

If a person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time that the crime was committed, this can be integrated as part of a criminal defense strategy. Similarly, if a person was under the influence of prescription drugs that resulted in an incorrect mental state, this may be a foundation upon which a defendant can attempt to reduce the severity of his or her sentence.


There are situations when law enforcement might incorrectly charge you for a criminal activity that was a consensual activity. In these situations, you can build your defensive strategy around the legal concept of consent.


Psychiatrists, healthcare professionals, or expert witnesses can present evidence that an individual acted out of insanity and at the time was unable to distinguish between right or wrong. In these rare situations, the court may determine that a defendant undergoes medical treatment or rehabilitation in lieu of incarceration.

Other Strategies

Mistakes made by law enforcement can result in criminal charges being dismissed. If, for example, law enforcement did not have probable cause when they made the arrest, if they failed to read Miranda Rights, or they acted unlawfully, these situations can potentially lead to dismissed charges.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney In Florida Regarding Your Defense Strategies

If you face charges for a crime in Florida, the penalties can impact your freedom, your quality of life, and more. Consider meeting with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Florida to discuss different criminal defense strategies. To review the circumstances of your case, explain potential extenuating circumstances, mistakes made by law enforcement, and develop a potential defense strategy, consider visiting with St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Sean McQuaid at (727) 381-2300 today.

Sean McQuaid