When people are accused of serious crimes and they begin looking into their criminal defense options, they often have some expectations about trying to stay out of jail. They believe that they need to get the charges dropped and that they can avoid any serious ramifications. They think that the only thing they can do is to fight against these charges and hope that they are successful, or else they will be convicted in court.
It is true that many cases take this path, and the crux of the whole process is simply determining if the person is guilty or not. But it’s also important to remember that this may not be the only focus you want to have when you’re facing such charges. In some cases, getting those charges reduced or making it so that you get charged with another offense entirely could be very good for your situation, despite not meaning that you get out of a conviction entirely.
Murder vs. manslaughter
There are many examples of this, such as getting a charge for assault taken down to something like public intoxication or public disturbance. But, for the sake of making the example clear, it may be wise to look at the difference between murder and manslaughter.
Overall, for someone to be convicted on murder charges, it has to be shown that they had intent to take the other person’s life. They likely premeditated this act and planned it all out so they could accomplish that goal.
With manslaughter, on the other hand, there is no denying that one person’s actions led to the death of another. But the person who caused that death may claim that they never premeditated it, they never wanted it to happen and they absolutely had no intent to take that person’s life.
In a case like this, it may be virtually impossible to argue that the person didn’t do it. Perhaps the whole event is on video, so it’s very clear that they did lead to the other person’s death.
But that doesn’t mean that they have to accept that it’s a murder charge and take the serious sentence that comes along with it – which could include something like life in jail. Instead of trying to get the charges dropped entirely, it may be in that individual’s best interests to argue that it was really manslaughter, or an accidental killing, which could get them a massively reduced sentence.
What’s best for you?
This is just one example of how you can approach a criminal defense case, and it’s important to decide what is best for you. Once you know what your goals are, then you can begin looking into the legal steps that will help accomplish them.