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Criminal Defenses May Include Renunciation

A good criminal defense attorney has an arsenal of defenses he or she may call upon to assist a client. One of those defenses may be renunciation.

To be found not guilty as pled according to the defense of renunciation means a defendant is not considered to be guilty of an offense or is not likely to be labelled as an accomplice provided the defendant informs law enforcement in enough time to allow them to prevent a possible crime in progress. Additionally, the defendant is found to have ended his or her participation before the actual commission of the crime and the defendant’s actions, up to the point when he or she ended involvement, did not contribute to the commission of the crime.

Abandonment or withdrawal laws do vary from state to state and it is vital you connect with an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to navigate your way through the criminal justice system. A skilled attorney is able to mitigate your charges, reduce them or even get them dropped, depending on the circumstances of the case. The one common denominator in all states, however, is that the person charged must be able to show they abandoned their criminal intent and genuinely attempted to stop others from committing a crime.

Typically when the defense of renunciation is brought forward, the prosecutor attempts to prove the abandonment was not voluntary and only occurred because something came up that made the plan to carry out a crime difficult.

Renunciation as a defense against a criminal charge is also known as abandonment and withdrawal. If the defense is successfully pled, it may prove that a defendant is innocent. The main key to pleading this defense is that the abandonment or renunciation must be wholly voluntary. In other words, the criminal must not renounce intentions to carry out the crime as the result of considering that he or she may get caught or because the crime could not easily be carried out.

A defense mounted in a situation where a charged individual voluntarily renounced their goal to carry out a crime or attempted to prevent a crime from happening is referred to as an affirmative defense. The renunciation of one individual does not affect a group of individuals where the others did not also abandon their criminal intentions. It is important to note that abandonment is not a defense to an attempt charge. An attempted crime is one where an individual was interrupted before completing the specific crime.

Refer to Florida Section 777.04(5)(a) Florida Statutes (2004) for further information on the Abandonment Defense.

Thomas C .Grajek is a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, Lakeland, and Polk County Florida. To contact a Lakeland criminal defense lawyer or to learn more, visit or call 863-688-4606.

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