What Are the 7 Procedural Defenses?

Matt Pinsker

August 12, 2022

Procedural Defenses

Defendants can raise one or more of the seven procedural defenses. These include Notice, Lack of intent, Involuntary intoxication, and Justification. Let’s review each of these, in turn, to understand whether they apply to your case. There are some exceptions to this rule. In some cases, you can even use all of them! Read on for more details! If you’re being charged with a crime, make sure you know your defenses.

Justification defenses

A justification defense is a legal theory that allows a defendant to avoid punishment when a crime was committed for a valid reason. In some cases, the state disagrees with the defendant’s view of the matter so that the court will dismiss the charges. The justification defense allows the defendant to avoid punishment, even if the crime resulted in significant damage. A valid justification can include a physical or mental impairment.

Notice defenses

To use this defense, defendants must first serve the government with a written notice stating they have done a legal document before the trial. This document should identify the government agency and any witnesses. The government must admit that it has exercised the requisite authority and produce all the relevant witnesses’ names. If the defendant fails to file the document, the government can challenge the validity of the defense.

Lack of intent defenses

Several procedural defenses are available to a defendant charged with a crime. While the absence of specific intent may not be enough to prove a person’s innocence, it can still be a powerful defense. While the government must prove the person acted with a specific intent to commit a crime, procedural reasons rely on the idea that the defendant did not know what they were doing. These defenses can help an accused avoid conviction or reduce their sentence.

Involuntary intoxication defense

The involuntary intoxication defense applies only to crimes where specific intent is required. Specific intent crimes require particular knowledge and purpose, while general intent crimes do not require detailed knowledge or intention. A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain the differences between the two types of crimes to help you determine if involuntary intoxication is an appropriate defense. If you are facing charges related to drunk driving, it is crucial to understand your rights.

Mistake of fact defense

A mistake of fact is a legal excuse for not committing a crime. For instance, Dave may have been trying to cut his lawn and saw Andy’s new mower parked outside the garage. Dave mistakenly thinks it was his, but Andy’s I.D. is convincing. Although Dave was not intentionally trying to steal anything, he was still responsible for committing a crime.

Lack of warrant

Criminal procedures are designed to be efficient, yet they sometimes go awry. The Constitution’s presumption of innocence and the right to an attorney protect defendants from unfair treatment by prosecutors and judges, but sometimes the justice system fails to follow its procedures, which can lead to a wrongful conviction. There are several procedural defenses you can raise to challenge how the justice system operates.

Lack of authority

The lack of authority as a procedural defense is a common excuse for crimes committed without government authorization. For example, if you are accused of stealing a car while on vacation, you cannot claim a lack of authority because you did not have the power to do so. This defense does not apply if you stole the car during a riot. The law requires that the defendant have public authorization to commit crimes, but an imagined government presence is not sufficient evidence. The defense is also invalid if you stole laptops during a riot, as this would be akin to paranoia.