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What Is an Affirmative Defense?

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If you are being charged with a crime, you may be wondering exactly what steps you need to take next. You probably know that you need to build a strong defense, but you might not know where to begin.

One option you have to consider is an affirmative defense. While an affirmative defense typically involves admitting you participated in a criminal act, your defense rests on the fact that extenuating circumstances were involved.

Several types of affirmative defenses exist. With your attorney, you may discuss the different viable defenses for your Oregon court case.

Are you unsure if an affirmative defense will work for in your case? Read on to learn more about affirmative defenses.

Mistake of Fact

While mistake of fact may be a complex affirmative defense, this form of defense can prove successful. This defense rests on the idea that you make a mistake any reasonable person could have made. While the event did occur, you are not criminally responsible for it because you did not intend to commit a crime.

Oregon has some specific rules about when this defense is usable. For instance, Oregon does not always take as a defense of mistake of fact when assessing sexual assault cases against children when the crime requires the child to be 16 or under.

However, this affirmative defense may be used if you had no way of knowing that a victim was mentally incompetent or incapacitated. This specific defense regards sexually based offenses.


Oregon has a complex history of taking into account intoxication as a defense. If you were voluntarily intoxicated, you are still held by the standards of the law. You are not able to use the fact that you were drunk as a defense against a drunk driving charge, for instance, because you chose to get drunk before engaging in the dangerous behavior.

Involuntary intoxication may provide a strong defense against some crimes. You may be able to allege that you were drugged by somebody else before getting into your car, for instance.


Duress involves coercion by threats or unlawful physical force by another person. You may have been forced to rob somebody because somebody else had a gun pressed to your head, for example.

On the other hand, duress does not apply to every situation. For instance, duress is not a defense for murder in Oregon. Additionally, duress does not apply to intentional and reckless placement in situations that may lead to duress.


Entrapment is a defense used to describe an action in which an individual is coerced into doing something because a peace officer forced them or advised them to. Individuals operating with the police as a part of a sting, for instance, are typically also safe.


Sometimes, criminal acts are the result of a terrible situation in which one person has to choose between two evils. You must prove in court that you selected the option that caused the least amount of damage when you were in a crisis situation.

For instance, you may have needed to use physical force as a defense of yourself or somebody else. Keep in mind several requirements exist to use physical defense in your case. For example, you cannot use deadly force in non-lethal situations. Additionally, keep in mind that the use of deadly force is not permissible in defense of property, but physical force is.

Call Mark J. Geiger today to learn more about your legal options. We can help you develop a defense for court that focuses on representing you in the best way possible. Set up a consultation today to learn more.