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Available defenses to a robbery charge

A robbery charge carries steep penalties in most jurisdictions. In New Jersey, a person accused of robbery could face incarceration, even for a first offense. A person who is accused of robbery has a right to present a defense. Besides innocence, a few defenses that could be offered are intoxication, entrapment and duress.

In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant does not have to prove his actual innocence and has the option of attacking the weak points in the state's evidence. However, if an alibi is available, putting on proof of actual innocence may be a good strategy. Voluntary intoxication is not a defense to a criminal charge in most states. However, involuntary intoxication might be a good defense, if a person can prove that they became intoxicated against their will or without knowledge.

Entrapment occurs when someone else pushes the defendant into committing a crime that would not have occurred otherwise. However, if the defendant intended to commit a robbery and police merely provided an opportunity for him to do so, he cannot claim entrapment. Duress may be a defense to a robbery charge if someone else directs the defendant to commit the crime under an immediate threat of violence. Courts have rejected duress arguments if the defendant could not show fear of harm or could have escaped the threat.

A person charged with the crime of robbery may wish to consult with legal counsel about the possible defense strategies that may be available. Many defendants choose to agree to a plea bargain to avoid a trial, but an affirmative defense may be effective in some cases.

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