South Carolina residents may be interested in learning the steps that may be taken to defend a second-degree murder charge. Many individuals who are charged with second-degree murder defend themselves by saying that they did not commit the crime that they are accused of. Others actually say they killed the victim but present justification for their actions. The latter is referred to as an affirmative defense.
As with other criminal cases, the defense presented is going to depend on the evidence presented as well as the facts surrounding the case. There are a number of defenses that might be used in a second-degree murder case.
When a defendant says that they did not commit the crime, they may present an alibi or multiple alibis. They may even challenge the evidence that the prosecution puts forth. The prosecution has the responsibility to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. So, if the defendant can raise sufficient doubt about their guilt, it is possible that they will be found not guilty.
Another popular defense is insanity. The insanity defense is not permissible in all jurisdictions. In many cases, even though the court will accept the fact that the defendant has a mental illness, they may also state that they knew their actions were wrong when they committed the crime. A defendant could be found guilty but mentally ill.
In places where a full insanity defense is permitted and the defendant can show that they were legally insane when the crime occurred, they may not be held accountable for their actions. An individual who has been accused of second-degree murder may benefit from the services of a criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney might help their clients during the criminal investigation and in every other phase of the judicial process.