Affirmative defenses are available in some criminal charges. One of the most common affirmative defenses that comes to mind is self-defense. This happens usually in a simple assault or aggravated assault case. Depending on the facts of the case, a defendant can assert that based on the circumstances he/she was just trying to defend themselves from the attacker. Typically a self-defense claim is brought when it is either clear that there was a fight by either eyewitnesses and/or surveillance video.

An affirmative defense can also be brought in a joyriding case. Depending on the facts of the case, a defendant can assert that they reasonably believed they had permission from the owner or the agent to use the vehicle or device. An example of this would be a defendant renting a surfboard for an hour while they’re at the beach. The police come and the defendant finds out that the person who rented the surfboard either did not have permission to rent out the board or that person stole the surfboard. The defendant here can assert that he believed that this person was the owner of the surfboard and paid to rent the board from them. An affirmative defense can be used in negotiation, but it is typically asserted at a trial.

When a defendant asserts a affirmative defense, he/she has to prove the defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a much lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt. Lawyers typically describe beyond a reasonable doubt by proving the case more than 90%. Typically in courts, it is described as having a firm conviction. Whereas a preponderance of the evidence is more likely than not. It is also described as slightly tipping the scales, i.e. by 51%.

Fort Lee Affirmative Defenses Attorneys

At our Bergen County Criminal Defense Firm, we have:

  • Eleven (11) criminal defense attorneys on staff
    • Combined together, over 200 years of experience
  • Eight (8) former prosecutors on staff
    • Four (4) were former county prosecutors who’ve tried high-profiled murders trials before a jury during their tenure as prosecutors
    • Many held directorial positions during their tenures as former assistant county prosecutors
      • One (1) was the head of the Drug, Gang, and Gun Task force
      • One (1) was the head of the Major Crimes Division
      • One (1) was the head of the Trial team
  • Multiple attorneys selected to either the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 or Top 40 Under 40
  • Two (2) attorneys selected to Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers Rising Stars list for criminal defense
    • Only 2.5% of attorneys in New Jersey are selected to said list
  • One (1) attorney certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney
    • Less than 1% of attorneys hold this distinction in New Jersey

Please give our office a call if you or a loved one has been charged with a crime at 201-201-0086.