7 Common Types Of Legal Defences In Criminal Law

A legal defence is a justification for why criminal charges against you should be dropped or why you should be acquitted

If the prosecution can’t disprove of your defence beyond a reasonable doubt, then you will be acquitted of the charges. But the type of defence to be used for your case will depend on the related circumstances and facts. 

A good defence law firm will help your case with the right legal defences, some of which have been listed below.

Legal Defences

7 Common Types Of Legal Defences In Criminal Law

1. Self-Defence 

Self-defence is a legally recognized reason for using force against another human being in order to protect yourself from harm. To successfully invoke self-defence, your lawyer should prove that you believed you were in danger of being harmed by another human. Hence, the force you used was needed to protect yourself and not to necessarily harm the other party. 

2. Defence Of Others 

Your lawyer can use the defence of others’ argument if you had reasonably believed that somebody else was in danger of getting harmed, and it was necessary to protect them. 

3. Defence Of Property 

In some cases, you may be able to use force to protect your property from being stolen or damaged. However, you can only use a reasonable amount of force. And you must not cause any more damage than is necessary to keep your property safe. 

4. Necessity 

The defence of necessity can be used if you have broken the law in order to prevent greater harm from occurring. For example, if you were forced to steal food in order to prevent yourself from starving to death, the defence of necessity can be used. 

5. Duress 

Duress is a defence that can be used if one has committed a crime because they were threatened with imminent harm if they didn’t do it. For example, if you robbed a bank because your kidnapper threatened that he would kill you otherwise, the duress defence can be used. 

6. Intoxication 

Intoxication is not generally a defence to criminal charges, but it can be used in some limited circumstances. For example, if you were intoxicated to the extent that you didn’t understand the implications of your actions, then the defence of intoxication may be used. 

7. Alibi

This is also called an affirmative defence where you must prove that you were in a different place and not at the crime scene. You will need to submit proper testimony given by an individual you were with, along with CCTV footage, receipts of movies, restaurants, or phone records as supportive evidence. 


In case you have been charged with a crime, it is essential to speak to a lawyer to see if any of these (or other) defences apply to your case. They will be able to look at the intricacies of the case, thereby increasing your chances of getting acquitted.

So, contact a qualified and experienced lawyer at the earliest.