Defense Strategies

Necessity

 

WHEN CAN THE DEFENSE OF NECESSITY BE USED TO DEFEND YOURSELF IN A CRIMINAL CASE PENDING IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY?

This defense takes shape when the person, that would normally be guilty of a crime, does an act to prevent a greater evil from occurring. Under most circumstances, the subject act would be a crime. However, because the person was operating under the belief that a necessity existed to act the way they did, they would be excused from their criminal conduct. An example would be if someone saw a fast moving car heading right at a person in the road and they acted quickly and tackled the person in road to avoid the collision with the car. Normally the act of tackling the person would be an assault and battery. However, because these acts prevented the person from being run over by the car, the person who saved the other person’s life would be excused from their criminal conduct. The act of tacking them was reasonable under the circumstances and a reasonable person would say it is not a crime.

Of course there are circumstances where someone does something criminal and tries to say they were operating by way of necessity and the finder of fact says they were acting unreasonably under the circumstances and are therefore guilty of a crime. An example of this would be a person seeing a bee land on another person’s face and they take a hard object and smash them across the face to avoid that person being stung by the bee. This is an extreme example of trying to use the defense of necessity where it clearly does not apply. There are many examples in everyday life where it is hard to tell if the person who claims they acted out of necessity is in the right or wrong.

In the course of defending criminal case over the past twenty five years I have seen all sorts of scenarios that warranted the defense of necessity and those that do not. If you believe that the defense of necessity is applicable to your case, give me a call and we can sit down in my office and go over your case step by step to determine if a defense applies or not. I pride myself in assisting clients to make the right decisions when their future, career, reputation and freedom are on the line. I will be honest and straight forward with you in reaching the decision that is best for your case.

LAW RELATED TO THE DEFENSE OF NECESSITY IN ANY LOS ANGELES COURTHOUSE

If a defendant acted out of legal necessary, they cannot be guilty. To establish this defense, a defendant must prove that it is more likely than not the Defendant:

  1. Acted in an emergency to prevent significant bodily harm or evil to him/herself or someone else;
  2. The defendant had no lawful alternative;
  3. The defendant’s acts did not create a greater danger than the one to be avoided;
  4. The defendant reasonably believed that the act was necessary to prevent the threatened harm or evil;
  5. A reasonable person would have believed the act was necessary under the same circumstances
  6. The Defendant did not substantially contribute to the emergency

It is important to note that the actions taken out of necessity must be reasonable. If a party acts unreasonably given the facts of the case, then the court will not accept this defense. Reasonableness will be a factual question and will depend greatly on the circumstances that the person encountered when they committed the illegal acts they have been charged with. Click here to schedule your free case evaluation.