Types of Criminal Defense Strategies

If you have been charged with a crime, the consequences can be serious including jail time, heavy fines, and a permanent mark on your record. For that reason you should consider preparing a solid defense to give yourself the best opportunity to protect your legal rights. Consider visiting with an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall at 703-934-0101 to learn about the different types of criminal defense strategies.

Perspective and Evidence

A defense attorney and a prosecutor can look at the same evidence and create different stories.

To that end, the truth can take many forms and a reputable attorney will attempt to find that truth in the form of hard evidence, explain events as they took place and offer details on why these events took place, and in some situations try to gain sympathy from the judge or the jury for extenuating circumstances.

Your Story

As the defendant, different criminal defense strategies will involve provable facts as well as your story. There are three categories into which a defendant story will fall:


In the event that a crime was committed, the confession story is just that: a confession. However, if you were never provided your Miranda Rights under the law, your confession may not be admissible in a court of law. Even a confession can not always equate to a conviction.

Complete Denial

If no crime was committed, the complete denial story is when you as the defendant deny all charges against you. There are many types of criminal defense strategies that fall under this category, including having an alibi.

Admit and Explain

Not every situation is black and white. There are certainly instances where a crime was committed or seemingly committed but there is a story behind it or an explanation that explains why it was not a crime or allows a reasonable defense. Some important criminal defense strategies in Virginia include where an act of physical aggression or violence was perpetrated but in self-defense or defense of others.

Types of Criminal Defense Strategies

In order to find the truth, a criminal defense strategy can take many forms based on your story.

Defense Strategies When You Did Not Commit the Crime

In situations where you did not commit the crime, a defense strategy can include legal arguments that include lack of proof or an alibi.

Lack of Proof

If you did not commit the crime you have to prove to a judge and potentially a jury that you did not commit the crime. In many cases, this is a legally complex and challenging endeavor and can include proving that testimonies are false or law enforcement errors.


An alibi is definitive proof that you were not at the location of the crime in question when it took place. A reliable alibi can prove that at the time a crime was committed, you were at a shop (through a receipt), work (through timesheets), or a social event (through witnesses).

Defense Strategies When You Did Commit the Crime but Should Not Be Punished

In situations where a crime was committed but it was for a valid reason, there are a handful of defense strategies the most common of which is self-defense as well as consent, entrapment, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or insanity.


The Code of Virginia requires police officers to make an arrest in the event there is a domestic dispute or other physical altercation. However, law enforcement may not know how the domestic dispute or altercation began and accidentally mistake a person’s acting in self-defense as assault and/or battery. In such situations, a good defense strategy will involve proving that you acted in self-defense because you were in imminent danger.


If a crime was committed because an undercover officer forced or coerced you into committing that crime, this can constitute entrapment. Entrapment is a challenging legal concept and visiting with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine if this defense is right in your circumstances.

Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

In more serious situations where a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol when a crime was committed, being under the influence can be part of a criminal defense strategy. There are also scenarios where prescription drugs are used but they result in an incorrect mental state. This defense may be used to try and shorten a sentence.


Just like law enforcement sometimes arrest the wrong person in a physical altercation, they can also potentially make mistakes when it comes to consent. There are times when law enforcement might mistake what is consensual activity for a criminal activity and pursue charges. If this is the case, a person may have the ability to build a strong defensive strategy around that consensus.


If an individual acted out of insanity, healthcare professionals like a psychiatrist or other expert witnesses can present evidence that the individual remains unable to distinguish between right and wrong. In these rare cases, a court may determine that the defendant should undergo rehabilitation.

Other Strategies

Other strategies can include mistakes made by law enforcement the results of which should be dismissed charges. If police officers did not have probable cause when they made the arrest, acted unlawfully, or failed to uphold a person’s constitutional rights, it can potentially lead to dismissed charges.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Regarding Your Defense Strategies

If you face charges for a crime, the penalties can be severe and impact every aspect of your life. Consider meeting with an experienced defense attorney in order to discuss the various aspects of your case, review any potential mistakes made by law enforcement, explain any extenuating circumstances, and develop a potential defense. To learn more about different criminal defense strategies in Virginia, contact the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall at www.farlawoffice.com or 703-934-0101. Our attorneys can help you better understand the types of criminal defense strategies and which might work best for your situation.