Difference between revisions of "Mistake of Fact"

From Criminal Defense Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
(Created page with 'This is a defense only if the mistake shows that the defendant did not have the state of mind required for the crime. Thus for crimes where no state of mind is required, mistake�')
(No difference)

Revision as of 16:54, 7 April 2010

This is a defense only if the mistake shows that the defendant did not have the state of mind required for the crime. Thus for crimes where no state of mind is required, mistake is no defense. For example, imagine that a person lawfully hunting in the woods shoots at what he reasonably believes is a deer, but the deer is in fact a person whom he kills. That is an example of mistake of fact. The mistake of fact establishes that the person did not have the state of mind required for murder and should be able to avoid conviction.

For general intent crimes, the mistake must be reasonable, that is the type of mistake that a reasonable person would have made under the circumstances.

For specific intent crimes where the defendant must have the specific intent to commit the crime and the consequences, any mistake, whether reasonable or not, is a defense.