When you’re accused of a crime, one of the things you’ll want to do right away is to determine the kind of defense you want to use in court. There are many kinds of criminal defense strategies, from those that agree that you did participate in a crime to those that claim innocence.

The kind of defense you use will vary depending on the situation. For instance, if you really didn’t commit a crime and have an alibi, which is someone or something that can prove you weren’t at the crime scene or couldn’t have been the one to commit a crime, then you may want to claim innocence as your defense. If you were involved in a crime because you were forced to participate, then you may claim you are innocent because of being under duress.

Your attorney should help you create your criminal defense strategy and talk to you about how to present your side of the story. It’s important that the way you tell your story evokes emotions from the judge or jury; you want to make the people judging you understand your side of the story and feel sympathetic toward you. When they feel sympathetic, you’re more likely to receive a lighter sentence or have your case dropped all together.

If you decide you want to tell the truth and plead guilty, this is also a defense in its own way. Sometimes, this can get you a plea deal or lesser sentence, since you’re willing to admit that you made a bad decision by breaking the law.

Source: FindLaw, “Criminal Defense Strategies,” accessed May 12, 2016