The emergency defence only works if the accused can prove that he had no legal alternative but to commit the accused`s crime. In some cases, an exception of necessity will never apply. You must be able to prove that you have reason to believe that your actions were immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm. You cannot pretend that you committed a crime to prevent a future threat. These examples have the common characteristic that individuals deliberately break the law because they feel it is urgent to protect others from evil, but some states distinguish between a response to a crisis that arises from a completely natural cause (an inanimate force of nature), such as a fire from a lightning strike or the rain from a storm. and a response to a purely human crisis. Therefore, parents who do not have the financial means to feed their children cannot use necessity as a defense when they steal food. The existence of social benefits and strategies other than self-help refutes the assertion of an urgent need that cannot be avoided other than by breaking the law. Even if the emergency requires immediate action on your part, your action cannot cause or result in harm or a situation worse than that which is avoided. The difference between necessity and the defense of coercion is that in an emergency defense, you intended to commit the crime, but only to prevent greater evil or evil.
An inmate may attempt to use the emergency defense to avoid the crime of illegal escape from a prison. Also note that the necessity defense is somewhat limited because it is incompatible with other defenses. According to San Jose defense attorney Cameron Bowman, “It can be difficult to determine whether it makes sense for a defendant to raise the defense of necessity. By invoking necessity, a defendant admits fairly specifically that he committed the crime, and the defendant tries to show that he had a good reason for doing so. If the defendant also wants to argue that he did not commit the crime, then the party could end up making two different and contradictory arguments. 19 Most legal systems consider that economic necessity alone does not justify the commission of criminal offences. Therefore, someone who commits a crime out of economic necessity, for example, if a person robs a supermarket because he is unemployed and has no other way to earn money and feed his family, will not be able to use the defense of necessity. The defence of necessity is sometimes referred to as the lesser evil defence, since it can only be applied if the defendant was certain that his action would not cause more harm than the situation avoided.
To use necessity as a defense, you must show that you did nothing to contribute to or cause the initial threat. If you were an innocent bystander and had no idea that a situation would arise, and you committed a criminal act to reduce the harm, the defence of necessity applies. However, if you were involved in the first incident or were aware of a problem and did nothing to prevent it beforehand, breaking the law to stop it would not be considered justified. The emergency underlying or justifying your action must be unforeseen and imminent and requires you to take immediate action. Criminal law permits necessity as a defence at trial if the actions of the accused are the result of forces of nature. This defense can be compared to forced defense, which can be used if the defendant`s actions were the result of strong human influence. Self-defense is often referred to as necessity, because in this case it is the natural instinct to protect oneself from evil that motivates violence, not the coercion of another human being. (In fact, it is no exaggeration to consider “self-defense” as a subcategory of the defense of necessity.) Another possible application of the necessity defence would be for a defendant charged with speeding while speeding in the emergency room with a heart attack victim in the back seat. In addition, some States apply a proportionality test, in which the defence would be admissible only if the degree of harm actually caused was an appropriate response to the degree of imminent harm. This is a legal form of cost-benefit analysis. You also don`t have to prove that you had a “medical need” for the drug to use the compassionate use defense.3. If a person wishes to raise the defence of necessity, he or she must show that at the time of the crime, it was assumed that there was an immediate and real threat and that he or she required him or her to act immediately to neutralize that threat.
It must be shown that the threat would be sufficiently obvious to the average person and not just to the accused. The California courts have concluded that the necessity defense is extremely limited in two types of cases. This is the case in the following cases: Here are some examples of situations where you might use necessity as a defence: In Canada, necessity is recognized as a defence for crimes committed in urgent situations of clear and imminent danger where the defendant has no safe or legal way out of the situation. However, in 2018, voters passed Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana use for those 21 and older.