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What One Should Learn from This Article: Not all affirmative defenses apply at a preliminary hearing, but depending upon the facts and law, one or more affirmative defenses may apply. The following affirmative defenses are the more common ones, but others may exist, depending on the charges and the facts.
- Alibi. In other words, it was not me. I was somewhere else at the time and I have proof. People v. Costello (1943) 21 Cal.2d 760, 765, 135 P.2d 164. A witness to seeing defendant at another location at the same time as the crime would suffice;
- Accident. People v. Gonzalez (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 382, 389. A person must have a mental state of intending to commit a crime or such reckless indifference to the consequences of his or her conduct, but negligence (i.e. a typical car accident) is not a crime (it is a civil case);
- Self Defense. The amount of force used to defend oneself must be reasonable under the circumstances and not exceed what is necessary. People v. Adrian (1982) 135 Cal.App. 3d 335, 337, 185 Cal.Rptr. 506;
- Necessity. The person admits to committing the crime, but alleges that he had a good reason for doing so. For example, a person may steal a hammer from a hardware store to go to a car, break the window and open the car door to help rescue a dog appearing to be suffering from heat stroke inside. People v. Kearns (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 1128, 1135, 64 Cal.Rptr. 654.
- Entrapment. Generally speaking, it is when a police officer lures, induces or encourages a defendant into committing a crime that he or she expresses a desire not to commit. People v. Moran (1970) 1 Cal.3d 755, 760, 83 Cal.Rptr. 411.
- Mistake of Fact. This could be an assertion of consent for a battery or other crime. People v. Mayberry (1975) 15 Cal.3d 143, 157, 125 Cal.Rptr. 745 (reasonable and good faith belief in consent, against charge of kidnapping and rape);
- Duress. This means defendant acted based on a threat of harm, which compelled the defendant to act against his better judgment or will. People v. Graham (1976) 57 Cal.App.3d 238, 240, 129 Cal.Rptr. 31;
- Defense of another. People v. Roe (1922) 189 Cal. 548, 560, 209 P.560;
- Unconsciousness. People v. Babbitt (1988) 45 Cal.3d 660, 689, 248 Cal.Rptr. 69;
- Insanity. People v. Hernandez (2000) 22 Cal.4th 512, 522; and
- Lawful arrest, i.e. against a charge of false imprisonment. People v. Agnew (1940) 16 Cal.2d 655, 664, 107 P.2d 601.