Top 10 Defenses Used by Criminal Lawyers in Canada

Photo of author

By Marilyn Royce

Usually, Criminal defence attorneys have access to a wide range of cases. They use several defences to protect their clients, depending on the particulars of every case.

Besides, the prosecution has the standard of proving, while the accused is declared innocent unless found guilty. Hence lawyers use different defence mechanisms each time.

Let’s know about some top defences used by them.

What Defenses Do the Criminal Lawyers Use In Canada?

Understanding how criminal defence functions in Canada is significant since it allows anyone to defend their rights. 

Here are some of the most practiced defences by criminal lawyers.


An offender might claim that they engaged in self-defence if they applied physical violence against a third party. They can say that doing so was required to protect the other person, either from immediate harm or from themselves or the third party.


An offender may assert that the victim gave their permission, which is the focus of the criminal allegation in certain circumstances.

Due to distress, an accused may claim that they were not acting intentionally when they violated the law but rather that a third party intimidated him.

Factual error

An accused may contend that they lacked the necessary men’s real ruling for the offence because they unintentionally misunderstood a necessary detail.


An offender might claim they were somewhere else when the crime occurred, so they didn’t do it.

False imprisonment

An offender may claim that the judiciary forced or persuaded them to do something they wouldn’t have done.

Extra Criminal Defence Strategies

In certain circumstances, it is apparent that the defendant possessed both actus reus and mens rea. There is no doubt that anyone executed a murder and behaved with the intention if they enter a police station and inform the on-duty police officers that they murdered someone who attempted to stab them in the road.

Does this imply that they committed a crime?

According to Canadian law, a crime could have been intentionally committed even if there were mitigating circumstances. These circumstances might or might not support mistrial, but they might result in a decreased sentence and a lighter punishment.

These sorts of criminal defences are known inside the Common Law system as genuine or positive defences.


A criminal defence attorney would raise the argument of duress, also referred to as coercion or compulsion, if they compel the client to follow a certain conduct path by the other person.

The Supreme Court of Canada determined that “the defence of duress is applicable if an individual performs an act while being under the coercion of a warning issued to force him or her to conduct it.

For instance, a bank clerk is not accused of robbery if they are not forced to pass a significant amount of cash under threat of violence.


According to Canadian law,  Automatism is a psychological condition that makes it impossible for a person to regulate their behaviour actively.

Based on whether the offender has a psychiatric disorder or not, automatism is usually categorized as either “insane automatism” or “non-insane automatism.” 

Automatism is a powerful defence for persons who have behaved on emotions put on by psychiatric conditions or lack of complete awareness, although it is a relatively uncommon phenomenon.


One of Canada’s most contentious legal resources is intoxication. A criminal defence attorney may contend that a person who was considered to be very intoxicated while they did the act was not acting rationally. However, there has been a lot of open discussion regarding when it should and shouldn’t be used.

Several legal professionals disagree with the idea that a person who commits a disgusting crime like rape or murder while impaired by drugs or alcohol cannot be charged with a crime, even though the defence has been utilized effectively in some circumstances.


Normally, duress only exists when each of the following conditions is true:

  • Death or immediate threat are major risks.
  • The accused has no choice but to violate the law.
  • The damage done was equal to the damage prevented.

The court can decide that the danger of racing is proportionate to the risk to the child’s life. For instance, if a mother speeds while conveying her choking kid to the doctor since she cannot contact an ambulance. This would probably not be acceptable if she rushed as she ran late to the office.

Final Words

It is very important to know the law to secure your basic rights. So, proper knowledge and understanding are of peak importance. If you have ever been accused of any offence and are waiting for bail, get the help of a lawyer from your nearby firm immediately.