How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lucy, Esq. Your Own Question
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27184
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Lucy, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What is the difference between justifications and excuses

This answer was rated:

What is the difference between justifications and excuses? Give examples of justifications that might serve as defenses.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Justification means that, while the defendant did technically violate the prohibitions in the statute, legally, he did nothing wrong. This is because the benefits of his behavior outweigh the harm caused. The primary example here is self-defense. A person is justified in taking someone's life if he reasonably and accurately believes that the other person presents a real and immediate threat to his well-being. In that case, a person is justified in meeting the aggressor's force with equal force. Defense of others is also a defense in a situation where the person being protected would have been justified in using self-defense. Another example is necessity - where a person has to act to avoid significant harm, even if his acts violate the law, he may be found to be justified if he had no adequate alternative under the circumstances. With that said, necessity is never a defense to murder.

An excuse, on the other hand, means that, while the defendant's conduct is wrong, he morally is not blameworthy. That usually means a situation where the defendant has a disabling condition - for example, if I hit someone while having a seizure, I'm not guilty of assault. Insanity also falls into the category of an excuse, rather than a justification.
Lucy, Esq. and 5 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you

Related Criminal Law Questions