Individuals in Minnesota who are charged with second-degree murder have the right to present a defense at trial. The type that is presented may vary and should be based on the factors surrounding the case and Minnesota criminal law.
The most frequently offered defense is that of actual innocence. There are many elements to this type of defense, including disputing the evidence offered by the prosecution and the account of an alibi. The burden of proof is with the prosecution, who must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of committing the murder in question. Defendants who are able to compel the jury to question the account offered by the prosecution may not be found guilty of the crime.
Minnesota allows defendants to present an insanity defense. However, an insanity defense will not absolve a defendant of all responsibility for the charge. Defendants can be recognized as having a mental illness but still be considered guilty in some form as they were aware that their actions were illegal when the murder occurred. In these cases, they may be found guilty but mentally ill, which implies that the defendant was in control of their actions.
Another defense against a second-degree murder charge is that of self-defense. This means that a killing took place because the defendants were saving their own lives.
A criminal defense attorney may advise clients who are charged with this type of violent crime about their legal options. Depending on the facts of the case and the strength of the evidence, the attorney might recommend going to trial to prove a defendant’s innocence or alternatively negotiating a plea agreement with the prosecutor.