11 Best Criminal Defense Attorney Strategies (How to Win)

Promoted Post

Criminal defense attorneys need strategies to enable them to fight a case and the aim is to win. Their strategies will involve legal actions and legal arguments to attempt to get charges dismissed and ensure their client walks free. They work hard to find flaws in the prosecution’s arguments and impose doubt on criminal elements that are produced in court. Let’s explore some of the best strategies used by criminal defense attorneys in the courtroom.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

According to the laws of the United States, the jury must have no doubt that the defendant is absolutely guilty. Every piece of evidence needs to point to the defendant having committed the crime they are being charged with, with no other plausible explanation. The more serious the crime, the higher the expectation on the burden of proof.


Most offenses are proven that the violator commits the offense intentionally, so the defense attorney will try to prove that the offense was unintentional. If the attorney can prove there was no intention, there will be a fair defense against the charges.

Mistaken Identity

Witnesses can be accused of not fully recognizing the perpetrator especially if their description was vague and only loosely fits that of the defendant. This may have led the witness to assume that the perpetrator is the defendant. The witness could even be trying to cover the fact that they committed the crime.


If the defense attorney is able to show that the defendant was somewhere else at the time the crime was committed, they can prove that their defendant is not guilty of the alleged crime. It’s not physically possible to be in two places at one time.

Police Misconduct

It is a shame but some officers of the law have been shown to commit misconduct during the investigation process. They might want to cover up such discrepancies in their investigations or may even just be trying to build a stronger case as they are sure that the defendant is guilty. The case can be dismissed if the defense attorney can prove that police misconduct has occurred.


If the defendant commits a crime because they were coerced or intimidated into doing so. This can often happen if police are undercover but it is not just the opportunity to commit the crime. It occurs when officers of the law (for example) resort to threats or harassment to induce the defendant to commit a crime.

Falsely Accused

This, unfortunately, happens a lot more than one might expect and individuals are often falsely accused without committing a crime. Some examples are domestic disturbances, child abuse, and other sex crimes where someone is accused and they have not done anything wrong. In such cases, the defense attorney has to work to get the accusation retracted.

Probable Cause

It was ruled that it is reasonable for an officer to stop an individual, search and arrest them as long as he can point to ‘specific facts’ even in the absence of probable cause. If the criminal defense attorney feels there was no probable cause they can file a motion to suppress such evidence which can lead to the dismissal of a case.

Self Defense

In California, the state recognizes the ‘Castle doctrine’ which applies to homes, businesses, or property owned by the individual. This allows the defense to argue that the defendant was defending their property although the amount of force used must be proportionate to the crime being committed against them.


If a criminal, or accused defendant, has acted to avoid them coming to greater harm it is possible for them to be acquitted of a charge against them. This is only valid if they felt that either they or another person were going to come to harm and the only option they have is to commit an act in defense which is one of a criminal nature. The defense attorney will demonstrate that the immediate danger was only avoidable by committing the alleged crime.


One cannot be found guilty of a crime if one can prove they were insane at the time the crime was carried out. California courts use a specific definition of legal insanity M’Naghten Rule which states that:

  • The accused did not understand the nature of the criminal act or
  • The accused did not understand that the act was wrong, morally.

Some states do not allow such an insanity defense and others use one or more of four other criteria in addition to the above.

The criminal defense attorney must use these strategies among others to ensure they are giving the defendant their best possible chance of winning the case against them.