The Vastness of the Law

Important Age Considerations In Criminal Defense Strategies

Defense lawyers are knowledgeable about research into the subject of criminal behavior. They often use research to support their efforts on behalf of their clients. An example is the relationship of gender and age to criminal behavior. More importantly from a defense standpoint, age is directly related to the likelihood a person will commit a crime. Read on to learn more. 

Relevant Research

Research shows that criminal behavior tends to peak in an at-risk person's mid-20s and declines afterward. Even among repeat offenders, a large majority stop any illegal behavior in their 40s.

Defending an Older Individual

An attorney can use this information in the effective defense of a middle-aged or older individual. Incarcerating someone in middle age who is not a repeat offender is unlikely to help protect the public. Depending on the crime, a sentence of probation and community service could be more reasonable.

A Different Stance for Young Adults

A lawyer also can take a different stance with a younger defendant. Judges and the legal system, in general, take immaturity into account. This is why juvenile offenders typically receive lenient sentences compared with adults.

A person in his early 20s who has never been in legal trouble before benefits from the age-related strategy as well. Like teenagers, people in this age group may behave impulsively and have unrealistic ideas about what they could get away with. The lawyer might find research verifying that most people of this age who have committed this particular offense will probably not get into trouble again. 

Crime Severity and Extenuating Circumstances

The severity of the crime is considered. A person convicted of burglary is more likely to receive a probation sentence than someone who committed armed robbery. For a defendant of any age, extenuating circumstances also might be considered, although this doesn't entirely absolve someone of responsibility. A man learning that his wife has been having an extramarital affair might assault this other man in the heat of the moment. Simple assault would be viewed less harshly than attacking the person with a weapon or causing serious injuries.

Additional Points

With either type of client, the lawyer focuses on previous good behavior and the person's remorse. The recent illegal activity is presented as an aberration that almost certainly will never be repeated.

People of any age who have been charged with a criminal offense benefit from skilled legal representation. They should consider contacting a criminal defense attorney as soon as they can.