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Can I Be Charged With A Crime If I Didn’t Know It Was Illegal?

Unfortunately, in most cases, ignorance of the law does not let you off the hook if you have committed a crime. You can still be charged for doing something illegal even if you did not know that it was illegal. If you have been charged with a crime, do not delay. Contact a Bergen County criminal defense attorney and get serious about fighting these charges.

How Can I Be Charged for a Crime If I Had No Intent?

You can be charged with a number of crimes even if you did not know that an action was against the law or if you had no intention of breaking the law. If people could claim ignorance of the law every time they were charged with something, it would be extremely difficult for the courts to function. This would just be the go-to defense for any criminal any time they did something wrong!

There are also laws known as “strict liability” laws that can be enforced even when a defendant is “morally innocent.” A good example of this would be a clerk who sells alcohol to a minor. If that clerk believed that the person they were selling alcohol to was over 21, then they were morally innocent. There was no intent to break the law. However, they did break the law. If charged, they are going to have to fight back and do everything that they can to avoid punishment.

What is the Difference Between “Mistake of Fact” and “Mistake of Law”?

There are also concepts known as “mistake of fact” and “mistake of law” that are important here. Mistake of fact can be used as a defense, but mistake of law cannot. A mistake of fact might be someone selling a stolen electronic device that they thought was obtained and sold to them legally. A mistake of law would be if someone sold a stolen device not knowing that selling stolen property is illegal.

Do I Need a Defense Attorney?

Even if you did not mean to commit a crime, hiring a defense attorney is still a good idea. Depending on what you are accused of, you could be facing harsh punishments like heavy fines and a long stay in a prison cell. Trying to defend yourself may not work out so well. Your attorney can:

  • Help you decide on a defensive strategy
  • Get evidence against you thrown out
  • Answer any questions that you have
  • Negotiate plea deals with the prosecution, if necessary
  • Handle all communications on your behalf

Schedule a Consultation Today

If you have been charged with a crime, do not try to defend yourself by saying that you just did not know you couldn’t do that. This is unlikely to work. Instead, contact the Law Office of Attorney Conway. We can schedule a consultation and take a closer look at your case. Then an experienced defense attorney can help you defend yourself.

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