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Learn how to interpret the criminal statutes used in your case

Criminal charges are one aspect of the legal system that is very complicated. The people who are facing these charges often have a limited understanding of the laws that they are being accused of breaking. In some cases, they might even find that researching the law is complicated because of the way criminal statutes are written. Learning how to break down a criminal statute might help you if you decide to research the laws pertaining to your criminal case.

When you are reading a criminal statute, you shouldn't let it get overwhelming just because it seems wordy. Instead, you have to go through it sentence by sentence to help you understand exactly what it means and how it might affect your defense strategy. As you do your research, you might find that there are elements that don't really apply to your case. Make sure that you make note of these, as you might be able to use them in your defense.

As you read through each sentence, ask yourself if each point pertains to your case. As an example, if you were facing a charge for breaking and entering, you would have had to force yourself into the home. "Breaking and entering" wouldn't apply if the homeowner or an occupant invited you into the home.

In some cases, there might be what seems like a minor point in the statute that could make a huge difference in your case. For example, if the statute stipulates that the crime must have happened at night, your case wouldn't fall under that statute if the crime of which you are charged occurred during the day.

Many criminal statutes are hard to decipher. If you have difficulty with the statutes being used in your case, make sure that you get answers to your questions before you decide on how it applies to your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Understanding Criminal Law -- How to Break Down a Criminal Statute," accessed Feb. 19, 2016

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