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In the field of criminal law, there are a variety of conditions that will tend to negate elements of a crime (particularly the intent element), known as defenses. The label may be apt in jurisdictions where the accused may be assigned some burden before a tribunal.

However, in many jurisdictions, the entire burden to prove a crime is on the government, which also must prove the absence of these defenses, where implicated. In other words, in many jurisdictions the absence of these so-called defenses is treated as an element of the crime. So-called defenses may provide partial or total refuge from punishment.

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