To get a conviction, the State must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Although the accused does not have to, they can choose to present a defense. There are many defenses available, from “I didn’t do it” to “I did it, but I was justified under the law.”
Innocent until proven guilty
Under our laws everyone is presumed to be innocent until found guilty. This presumption means that the prosecution must convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt, rather than the defendant having to prove that they are innocent. The jury will be instructed that they are not to hold the defendant’s silence against them. A defendant may simply remain silent and not present any witnesses, then argue that the prosecution failed to prove its case. But, in practice, defense attorneys often present their own witnesses in order to counteract the government’s case.
Burden of Proof
The State has the burden of proof to show that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Because the state has the burden of proof, that is why the defendant does not have to put up any witnesses if they choose too.
Didn’t Do It
Most often, defendants will argue that the crime may have occurred but it wasn’t them that did it, you got the wrong guy. This can be because of no visual identification or lack of proof to show who actually did it.
The Alibi Defense
An alibi defense means that the defendant was somewhere else at the time of the crime and therefore could not have been the person who committed the offense. The alibi defense typically requires a person take the stand and testify under oath that they were with the defendant at a different location at the time of the crime. It is up to the jury to believe that testimony or not.
I did it, but I was legally justified
This means that you admit doing the act that the state claims but were legally justified under the law, the most common defense is self-defense meaning that you have a right to defend yourself to prevent being harmed under certain circumstances. The jury will decide if your justification for committing the act was lawful or you are guilty of a crime. There’s always a risk of asserting self-defense because you are admitting that you committed the act but that you were lawfully justified in doing it.