sesto elemento wrote:Crim Law
Can someone explain mistake of fact. TYIA.
Mistake of fact serves as a defense that's used to negate the mens rea of a criminal offense. If you buy a drink for someone who you actually believe is to be of age, but it turns out that they are under age, you've made a "mistake of fact" about the person's age but you are not criminally responsible since you legitimately believed they were of legal age. Basically it's when you don't have any intent to commit a crime, but a material fact in the circumstances, independent of your intent, actually makes it a crime, yet you are not criminally responsible because you were ignorant of that "fact"
In other words, it's when a factual inquiry into the circumstances reveals that a material fact that would normally hold you criminally liable doesn't in this instance because you had reason to believe that that fact was of a different character ie) your ignorance of the true, actual fact eliminates the mens rea element necessary for criminal liability