Common Criminal Defenses in Omaha

possible-defenses-to-a-crimeIn criminal law, there are several defenses that can be asserted once an individual is accused of committing a crime. Depending on the circumstances, a successful defense from an Omaha criminal defense lawyer can reduce the punishment in a case.

Common types of criminal defenses include:


Automatism occurs when the muscles act without being controlled by the brain, or during lack of consciousness.  An individual may fall ill, or into a dream-like state resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder, which results in an automatic spell. In these instances, an individual must have lost all voluntary control.


Duress occurs when an individual is forced to do an unlawful act. It should be noted that although duress can be used in many defense cases, it cannot be used in cases of murder, attempted murder, or accessory to murder. Most commonly, duress must include the threat of imminent death or injury operating in the individual’s mind and overbearing on that individual’s will.


Insanity may be defined as an individual’s lack of understanding of the wrongfulness of a certain act or an individual’s lack of legal capacity. In most cases, if an individual is declared not guilty by reason of insanity, they will typically be treated in a mental hospital.


Intoxication is defined as a state in which an individual is not at their normal capacity to act or reason due to drugs or alcohol. In most instances, an individual is unable to operate in a normal prudent and cautious manner, in the same instance where an un-intoxicated person would.

Lawful Capacity for Office

The lawful capacity of office usually pertains to servants of the public and first responders, including police officers, EMTs, and firefighters. This protects these individuals from taking responsibility for their actions, which otherwise may be considered to be criminal actions.

Legal Duty

Legal duty is defined as an individual’s responsibility to others to act according to the law. In these instances, legal duty may apply to an individual that does not hold a position such as a law enforcement official. Good Samaritan laws will typically fall under legal duty and provide immunity to these individuals.

Lesser Harm or Necessity

Lesser harm or necessity can be defined as making a criminal act justifiable if the act was necessary in order to prevent a foreseeable and greater harm than the harm that was created by this act. In most cases, necessity will form a basis for defense like legal duty, self-defense and capacity of office.

Mistake of Fact

Mistake of fact can be used if the mistake which was made is truly genuine. Typically, this defense will be used with another defense, in which case the defendant believes the actions they took are justifiable under the second defense.


Self-defense is defined by an individual taking some sort of action to protect themselves. Most commonly, an act of self-defense will not be considered a crime and there will be no punishment. In some instances, the individual who was the aggressor may be able to claim self-defense if, during the course of the fight they were using no deadly force and the victim used deadly force, continuing the altercation on another level.

Do Not Delay, Launch Your Defense Today.

There are several additional defenses which may be used, but these are the most common used by attorneys today. Our lawyers all have the experience to determine which defense should be used in each individual case, and will do everything in their power to help our clients achieve the most favorable outcome.

At the Law Office of Thomas T. Inkelaar, our attorneys believe that if you or a family member has been arrested and charged for a crime in Omaha, or found to be the subject of a federal criminal investigation, it is imperative to seek an experienced attorney to represent you against the criminal charges.

With headquarters in Lincoln and Omaha, our attorneys are licensed to serve clients throughout the entire state of Omaha.