Using Accident Defense in Criminal Cases

Sometimes a person commits an act with no intent to hurt anyone, but because of certain unanticipated circumstances another is injured or death results and the police decide to arrest that person and the prosecutor charges them with a crime.

If the person can show that they had no criminal intent and they did not act with crime negligence, but instead did something by accident, they may have a defense that will protect them for criminal responsibility.

There are all kinds of examples and cases where an injury occurs to another because someone does something by accident and had no intent to hurt anyone. In order to best evaluate whether you can assert the defense of accident or any other defense can be used to help you, you must meet with an expert, be honest with them and let them give you a step by step assessment of your chances and choices.

Intent is the Key Element of the Crime

It doesn’t come up too often that an accident can be used as a defense in a criminal case, but the crucial element, as you might guess, is intent.  In other words, you must have the intent to commit a particular crime or to do something criminal in order to be prosecuted and convicted for a crime, and I do get a lot of cases where you see that the person involved really doesn’t have any criminal purpose.

In other words, they’re not trying to gain an advantage, they’re not trying to do something unlawful, they’re not trying to do something that they or a reasonable person should know that they shouldn’t be doing, but they’re simply trying to do something that they normally do or that’s lawful and somehow something horrible happens.

So, when you’ve got a situation where you believe you can use a defense of accident, your best bet is to sit down with somebody like me who has been doing this for twenty-five years so we can see if that is a realistic defense.

For example, if somebody drinks a bunch of alcohol and then become in some sort of an accident, obviously that’s not going to be grounds to assert the accident defense because you shouldn’t be drinking a bunch of alcohol and driving and then tragedy occur that of course you didn’t mean to happen, but the issue becomes, you should know before you start thinking that when you drink and get behind the wheel of a car, accidents occur.

So, that’s not going to be a valid defense in a criminal case.

To assert an accident as a defense, you’re going to need some good facts that a jury would look at and say, we’re not going to hold this person criminally liable or responsible for this crime because we don’t believe this person truly had any type of criminal intent in their mind.

If you’ve got that type of a situation, then you’re in a much stronger position to argue the accident defense in a Los Angeles criminal case and be successful.

Consult With Our Lawyers To Review Your Case

The first step is, pick up the phone, make the phone call.  Let’s talk about what happened and I can evaluate whether it truly is an accident, whether the prosecutors will buy that and whether the judge will, and if not, sometimes we have to take it to a jury ad convince a jury that it was a pure accident — no criminal intent — and therefore, there should be no criminal conviction.