A Criminal Lawyer Can Help with a Defense of an Honest Mistake

It is possible in certain situations to have the defence against criminal charges that it was just an honest mistake. You will need the help of experienced and professional criminal law firms Melbourne CBD in order to come up with a reasonable defence. In certain cases where people can successfully prove and argue that they had good reasons for how they acted this might mean the charges against you are dismissed. This defence is one you can only use in relation to offences of strict liability. These are where the offence is not one that requires the prosecution to prove you intended to carry out the crime. Examples include driving when intoxicated or under the influence or speeding. This defence can be raised when you honestly thought you were acting lawfully though you were committing an offence, and that had you known you would not have acted in that way, breaking the law.

Being successful with an honest and reasonable mistake of fact defence

For your criminal law firms Melbourne to argue this defence and be successful they need to show that there is more than a 50% chance that the following are true.

  1. That you honestly held that mistaken belief – You need to be able to show and prove that the belief you held was genuine, not something you have made up for your defence. If for example you have been charged driving illegally when you have been disqualified from driving, you need to show absolutely that you were not aware of that disqualification. You perhaps have a letter from the right officials stating you could drive.
  2. That the mistaken belief was a reasonable one – The idea of a reasonable mistaken belief is the idea that other people in your situation would have made the same mistake with that belief. Included in what the court considers are what reasonable steps you took to arrive at that belief. For example, if you are charged with a sexual assault but you believed you had consent, you and your criminal law firms Melbourne CBD need to show you took all reasonable steps to clarify you had consent.
  3. That the belief relates to a fact, not the law itself – You cannot argue that you were not aware of the law and therefore it does not apply. But you can argue and prove that your belief in certain facts is a reasonable defence. For example, if you are being charged with something to do with drugs, but you can prove you honestly thought the drug you took was something legal, or you were given a marijuana plant and told it was something else and believed it.

Summary

The great criminal law firms Melbourne will have experience and be able to examine the evidence and consider whether this is a valid defence for you are not. If they are successful in court then you can be found not guilty of any strict liability offence.