When facing felony charges, having a good defense is crucial to the best chance of receiving a “not guilty” verdict. However, if you were unaware that what you were doing warranted criminal charges, you may be disappointed to discover that this may not constitute a valid defense. Unfortunately, many are unfamiliar with how the ignorance of the law defense works. Luckily, this blog explores what you should know if you are facing criminal charges and why it’s critical to connect with an Oklahoma City felony defense lawyer as soon as possible.
What Is Ignorance of the Law?
Ignorance of the law is a phrase used to describe someone who unknowingly committed a crime or did not know their actions were in direct violation of a state or federal law. Generally, most will claim they were unaware that what they did constituted a crime.
Can I Use This as a Defense?
Generally, ignorance of the law is not a valid defense for criminal charges. This is because people would constantly take advantage of this excuse to avoid facing liability and criminal consequences for their actions. As such, ignorance of the law is not a defense. Americans are expected to have a basic understanding of the laws in place, and thus cannot make this claim.
It’s important to understand that this is a very complex process. While ignorance of the law may not be acceptable, a mistake of fact may be used as a defense. For example, if you are charged with kidnapping an infant, simply stating that you did not know taking a baby that’s not yours is a crime will not suffice as a defense. However, if you take the wrong baby carrier, thinking you were taking your child, you can disprove kidnapping, as you did not have the intent to take an infant that isn’t yours.
Additionally, if the law was only recently enacted, there is a consensus that the general public must have time to discover this news. If the information hasn’t been disseminated and someone does something that has only just become a crime, it can be challenging to prove they knew about a law.
What Should I Do if I Committed a Felony and Didn’t Know It?
If you are charged with a felony crime and were unaware of your actions, you must connect with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
You should not speak to the police until you have consulted your attorney. Unfortunately, trying to plead your innocence and ignorance to the arresting officer can result in information being used against you during your trial. As such, you should invoke your right to remain silent.
At the Jones Firm, PLLC, we understand the severity of facing felony charges. That’s why our team is committed to doing everything possible to fight for the best possible outcome. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you through these challenging times.