Using Mistake of Fact as a Defense When Charged with a Crime

By Davis Law Firm | January 31, 2020

What is Mistake of Fact?

When an individual is charged with a crime, one of the very first things they will do is contact an attorney. A criminal defense attorney wants to build a defense for their client. The type of defense strategy used varies from case to case, but the mistake of fact is one common defense method that is used. It usually means that the person who is charged with the crime was unaware that what they were doing was considered a crime in the first place.

Lack of Intent

Some attorneys will use a lack of intent defense strategy when attempting to help their clients overcome legal situations. A lack of intent means the individual had no legitimate reason to commit the crime and did not plan it out. It may occur when an individual commits a crime without having a thorough understanding of the law surrounding his or her actions. The person may not have realized that what they were doing was wrong. Although occasionally used in the courtroom, it is not always possible for an attorney to use this method to fight charges for a client as some judges do not allow it.

What You Should Know About Mistake of Fact

A mistake of fact defense is often ideal when it is easier to prove that an individual unknowingly committed a crime. As an example, an individual may be charged with grand larceny for taking something from another person. However, the reason the defendant may have taken the item in the first place is that they believe it was their property and they had a right to it, even if they did not have the right to take it from someone else. When a misunderstanding occurs and the defense attorney can prove that, the charges are often thrown out, allowing the defendant to move on from the legal situation.

When a defense attorney is making such claims for the defendant, those claims must be truthful. An attorney cannot just say that the defendant did not realize what he or she was doing when the defendant clearly understood that what he or she did was wrong. If there was a real misunderstanding and the defendant had no idea that he or she would face serious consequences for committing certain acts, the attorney should have no problem using this specific type of defense strategy. It may then be possible for the defendant to avoid being held responsible for their decision.

Legal Help and Guidance

When you have been charged with a crime and you did not realize that you were doing something wrong, you need to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer will go over your legal options while discussing possible defense moves to make in the courtroom to help you with the situation you are in. You will need to provide the lawyer with details of the crime and why you did what you did before the lawyer can decide if using the mistake of fact is the right move to make.

Contact an Experienced Hamilton Township Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Criminal Charges in New Jersey

Were you arrested or charged with a crime in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at the Davis Law Firm, LLC have successfully represented clients in Robbinsville, Hopewell, West Windsor, East Windsor, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 498-7722 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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