First-degree murder is one of the most serious criminal charges a person can face. It comes with the possibility of having to spend life in prison or being put to death. One thing that defendants must do in these cases is present their defense against the charges.
There are many defense options that a person in this position can use. The strategy that is chosen has to be based on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s goal. Some people opt to try to work out a plea deal with the prosecutors. This can reduce the severity of the penalties they are facing. For example, a person who might face the death penalty might be able to ensure that they won’t be put to death. Instead, they might be incarcerated for life.
Other defendants choose to fight the charges. This is common for the ones who want to show that they aren’t guilty and those who want a chance to explain what happened. These are the cases that often have complex defense components.
One common defense strategy is to offer an alibi that shows you weren’t at the scene of the murder when it happened. For example, if you are accused of shooting someone in a nightclub on one side of town but video surveillance clearly shows that you were at work at the time of the shooting, you can present that in court.
Another common claim is self-defense. This means that you acknowledge that you did kill the person, but that you were only protecting yourself or someone else from imminent and serious harm.
Sometimes, a defense strategy will include more than one outlook on the matter. This is why it is imperative to review all possible options before making a decision.