Those accused of crimes in Florida can plead guilty or not guilty. In cases where there is a preponderance of evidence that will likely lead to a conviction, defendants will usually plead guilty and try to gain a reduction in punishments. In cases where there isn't clear evidence against the accused, the defendant will likely try to defend him or herself against the charges by pleading not guilty.
Depending on the pathway chosen, defendants will usually select one of the following three criminal defense strategies:
Telling a confession story
When a defendant pleads guilty, he or she will usually offer up a "confession story" as a part of the guilty plead. This story will attempt to explain the sequence of events that led to him or her commiting the crime in a way that gains the sympathy of the judge or jury.
Telling an admit and explain story
When entering a plea of not guilty, the defendant might admit to having committed the act in question; however, by explaining what happened, the defendant reveals why the action was not actually a crime.
Telling a complete denial story
When entering a plea of not guilty, the defendant might deny the charges while, at the same time, giving a story that includes reasons why he or she couldn't have committed the crime. This complete denial story may include an alibi -- i.e., some kind of proof that the defendant didn't commit the criminal act in question.
There are other defense strategies that people accused of crimes in Florida might use to navigate their criminal proceedings. Ultimately, it will be necessary to review all the facts of a particular case -- and the alleged laws that have been violated -- in order to determine the right approach for a particular criminal defense.