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Not all crimes require criminal intent; but should all crimes require intent? In other words, is mistake or ignorance an excuse for breaking a law?
The general rule that ignorance is no mistake is supposed to make sure no one can willingly and purposefully break a law and then claim he "didn't know" it was against the law. [ If that could happen, there would be no law and order. This gives way to the two main exceptions to the rule. First, although it's presumed that you know all of the laws of wherever you are, the laws need to be made known to the general public in the first place. A law can't be passed in secret and then enforced against the unaware public. That's why laws are published in books, online, and even why speed limit
signs are on the roads and highways. So, the US Supreme Court decided years ago that when someone can show she had no idea a law existed, and the authorities make no attempt to prove that she could have and should have known about the law, she can't be convicted of the crime of not following the law. ]
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Expert answered|selymi|Points 11782|
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Asked 11/3/2013 9:33:58 AM
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