Legal Defense Accident

CALIFORNIA LEGAL DEFENSES: DEFENSE OF ACCIDENT

Whether criminal conduct was intentional or accidental can be a key distinction in determining if a defendant is guilty of a criminal offense. The Legal Defense of Accident is a defense that can completely clear a person of criminal liability, if it can be shown that their conduct was unintentional. In the eyes of the law, this means that even though a crime has occurred, there is a legal defense to that crime which will result in the prosecutor either not filing charges, or a dismissal of a case that has been filed.

Most (but not all) of the crimes in Los Angeles require "intentional" criminal conduct. Thus if the criminal conduct happened accidently, there was no intent and a crucial element of the crime is not present.

For example, the crime of Petty Theft under California Penal Code Section 484(a) PC requires that the person charged with stealing an item intended to take an item without paying for it. Often, people may inadvertently walk out of a store without realizing that they were still holding something that they did not pay for. In this situation, they did not intend to commit theft and their actions were completely accidental. This would be a defense to the crime of Petty Theft because the prosecutor would be unable to establish intentional conduct, which is required by the statute.

The defense of Accident is available in any case that requires intentional criminal conduct as an element. In cases which punish reckless or negligent conduct, the defense of accident would not apply. For example, any crime of theft must be intentional. Therefore, if the offense was committed by accident, then a person is not responsible for their actions. No one ever intends to pass out and block pedestrian traffic and this conduct is always arguably unintentional, thus making the accident defense inapplicable.

Additionally, the Defense of Accident only applies to people engaged in activity that requires a specific intent to do an act. For example, if a person is beating up another person and that person dies, the first person would still be criminally responsible for the death of the person even if he did not intend to kill the other person and the death was "accidental."

The "Accident" Defense is one that many criminal defendants try to raise with varying levels of success. Many people try to claim their conduct was accidental even though the facts of the case clearly show otherwise. However, there are situations in which this defense, if properly argued and presented by a skilled Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney, can help get a case dismissed.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who is highly skilled at successfully defending clients charged with criminal offenses of all natures. Mr. Kraut is highly regarded by prosecutors and law enforcement alike as a fierce defender of his clients’ rights who can skillfully mount the best defense possible. If you or a loved have been charged with a criminal offense in the Los Angeles area, it is crucial that you contact Mr. Kraut immediately.

For more information about the Defense of Accident, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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