Examples Of When Breaking The Law Is Justified?

Examples Of When Breaking The Law Is Justified
For example, if a person is severely injured and the closest hospital is across the border in another country, then illegally crossing the border should not be the main concern, saving the person’s life should and in such cases law breaking is most definitely justifiable.

Are we ever justified in breaking the law?

A citizen’s duty – Another argument that we would be reluctant to accept is that a duty to obey the law is built into citizenship. According to this argument, the fact we are Australians, whether we chose to be or not, means we have a duty to obey the law – disobedience would be un-Australian.

  • We might doubt, though, that mere membership of a political community entails a duty to obey its laws.
  • Whether the community is just surely matters too though.
  • If it did not, we would have to conclude that the citizens of Nazi Germany had a duty to obey their law.
  • These are just a few of the arguments McManus’s critics might offer in support of their assumption that we have a duty to obey the law.

Suppose we are unconvinced by neither these arguments nor any others they could offer. What follows? As McManus says, we should do what the law requires only “when the law is fair and the law is right”. We might, of course, think that the laws that regulate industrial action are right and so should not be broken.

  1. But that has not been the claim of McManus’ critics.
  2. Suppose, though, we are convinced by at least one of the arguments for a duty to obey the law.
  3. Would disobedience then be wrong? Not necessarily.
  4. Even if there is a duty to obey the law, it might be trumped in specific cases by considerations of justice.

Even if there is such a duty, then, unlawful strikes, whistle-blowing and other acts of disobedience might be justified. Indeed, an Attorney-General’s refusal to hand over his diary might even be justified. Dr Kevin Walton is a Senior Lecturer in the Sydney Law School with an expertise in legal philosophy.

How can you justify breaking the law?

Breaking the law is morally justifiable and acceptable when the law in itself is iniquitous and if that law violates human rights and conscience ; Certainly, rules are established for us to follow but we as human beings should be able to differentiate the right and the wrong and incase laws need to be violated for the

Is civil disobedience ever justified?

Introduction: The Nature and Moral Justification of Civil Disobedience (From Civil Disobedience, P 1-56, 1989, Paul Harris, ed. – See NCJ-121683) This analysis of the nature and moral justification of civil disobedience notes that the term has been used in varying ways and proposes a wider definition than the one that is often used.

The orthodox definition of civil disobedience notes that civil disobedience is both illegal and civil, takes place in public, involves an act of protest, is nonviolent, is conscientiously-motivated, and involves both acceptance of the legitimacy of the system and submission to arrest and punishment.

However, characteristics like conscientiousness are not necessary to the definition, and those like nonviolence are inappropriate. Therefore, a more appropriate definition is that civil disobedience is a public act that deliberately contravenes a law, that is publicly-performed, and that occurs in awareness that an arrest and a penalty are likely.

Many types of objections to civil disobedience have been raised, often based on the view that citizens in a democracy are obliged to obey the law. However, none of these objections are decisive against every act of civil justification. Thus, civil disobedience may be morally justified, even in a democracy.91 reference notes.

: Introduction: The Nature and Moral Justification of Civil Disobedience (From Civil Disobedience, P 1-56, 1989, Paul Harris, ed. – See NCJ-121683)

Can every crime be justified?

Excuse, Justification, Exculpation – Exculpation is the act of being cleared of blame, and excuse and justification are the most common criminal defenses that achieve this. In the the criminal law system of the United States, excuse and justification are most commonly employed in affirmative defenses that provide rationale for finding the defendant not guilty, even though he committed an actus reus, possessed the necessary state of mind, and caused the damage to society that would normally constitute a criminal offense,

The exculpation of guilt – in situations where it is justified or excusable – is considered to be more desirable to society than the rote prosecution of specific crimes. Justifications are defenses that focus primarily on the criminal offense that was committed by the defendant. A criminal offense may be justified if it in some way benefits society or upholds principles that society values highly.

For example, assault and battery could be fully justifiable if those actions are shown to be in self defense, It is a fundamental value of society that everyone has a right to defend themselves if they come under attack, and so this behavior is in many situations justified.

  • Excuse defenses are oriented toward the actor, rather than the criminal act.
  • Even though the actions of the defendant were criminal, intentional and caused some level of harm to society, these defenses may exculpate criminal guilt because for some extenuating reason the defendant is found not to be responsible for his own actions.

If the defendant was involuntarily drugged and, while intoxicated, injures another person, her behavior may be excused and exculpated. The reach of justification and excuse only goes so far. Some crimes are so serious that full exculpation is not possible, though excuse and justification may lessen criminal guilt so some degree.

The duress defense, for example, may excuse criminal actions committed by the defendant if he was being threatened by another person and reasonably feared for his life: theft under these circumstances might be fully excusable, but taking the life of an innocent person is almost certainly not. In this case, the duress defense could probably not exculpate the defendant fully of criminal guilt, but might serve to reduce liability from murder to manslaughter.

See also:

Innocence in Criminal Law The Presumption Of Innocence Beyond A Reasonable Doubt The Alibi Defense Actual Innocence The Insanity Defense The Infancy Defense The Automatism Defense Mistake Of Fact

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What are common laws people break?

Lastly, most everyone has likely heard of these, but they are still among the laws most commonly broken. –

Underage drinking is mostly forbidden in the U.S. under the National Minimum Age Drinking Act passed in 1984. There are exceptions in certain states, such as for religious activities and with parental or guardian consent. While smoking marijuana and using cannabis products is slowly being legalized in some states, the possession and/or use of it is still a criminal act in others. Breaking traffic laws by speeding, driving without a seatbelt or using a cell phone while driving are common occurrences in many places and the threat of a traffic ticket isn’t always a deterrent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that injury accidents will affect two out of every three motorists in their lives and in 2017 alone more than 3,000 fatalities were the result of distracted driving,

Laws and the enforcement of them varies by state and municipality. If you’re not sure what the rules are where you live or work, be sure to look them up before you engage in anything that could turn you into a law breaker and get you in trouble. When you need to take action for legal matters in life, start by calling one of our ARAG customer care specialists at 800-247-4184, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.

What laws are considered unjust?

An unjust law is a code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is not binding on itself. This is difference made legal. On the other hand a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

What are some of the justifications for laws?

Justification as a Defense | Law Office of Marla Zide, LLC | Glen Burnie, Maryland A justification means that a defendant is seeking to avoid liability for a criminal offense by showing the circumstances that justified the defendant’s actions. A justification is not a true defense.

When asserting a justification, the defendant generally admits that he or she committed the offense but claims that his or her conduct was justified under the facts and circumstances. A justification is similar to a defense in that a defendant has the burden of raising the issue and of producing evidence that supports the issue.

The prosecution then has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions were not justified. The defendant is entitled to a jury instruction on the justification issues that are raised by the evidence, even if the issues are inconsistent with each other.

  1. Most states recognize certain statutory justifications.
  2. Such justifications may include public duty, necessity, self-defense, defense of a third person, defense of property, and certain privileges regarding law enforcement officers, parents, teachers, and guardians.
  3. A justification based on a public duty applies to anyone who is required or authorized by law to act in accordance with a judgment, a court order, or legal process.

A defendant may claim the justification of public duty if he or she reasonably believed that his or her conduct was required to assist a public servant in the performance of the public servant’s official duty. The justification of public duty does not normally include the right to use deadly force.

A justification based on a law enforcement privilege means that a law enforcement officer is justified in using force against another person when he or she reasonably believes that force is necessary to make an arrest or a search, to assist in making an arrest or a search, to prevent an escape after an arrest, or to assist in preventing an escape after an arrest.

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The law enforcement officer must be acting within his or her official capacity in order to claim that the use of force was justified. The law enforcement officer may be justified in his or her use of deadly force when the officer reasonably believes that deadly force is immediately necessary to make an arrest or to prevent an escape.

  1. Although the law enforcement officer is not required to retreat before using deadly force, a suspect may be entitled to a warning before the officer uses deadly force, if the warning is feasible.
  2. A law enforcement officer is generally not entitled to use deadly force during a search.
  3. In some states, a parent, teacher, or a guardian may be justified in using non-deadly force against a child if the parent, teacher, or guardian reasonably believes that force is necessary for the discipline of the child or to protect the child.

However, the use of deadly force against the child is never justified. The degree of force and the purpose of the force are questions of fact for a jury. The jury is entitled to weigh the child’s age, sex, and condition and the circumstances that led up to the use of force against the child.

What does justify the law mean?

Justification is a defense in a criminal case, by which a defendant who committed the crime as defined, claims they did no wrong, because committing the crime advanced some social interest or vindicated a right of such importance that it outweighs the wrongfulness of the crime.

  • Justification and excuse are related but different defenses (see Justification and excuse ).
  • Justification is an exception to the prohibition of committing certain offenses.
  • Justification can be a defense in a prosecution for a criminal offense.
  • When an act is justified, a person is not criminally liable even though their act would otherwise constitute an offense.

For example, to intentionally commit a homicide would be considered murder. However, it is not considered a crime if committed in self-defense, In addition to self-defense, the other justification defenses are defense of others, defense of property, and necessity (usually fails as a defense for civil disobedience because the protest could have been demonstrated without breaking laws).

Can an act be legal but immoral examples?

Ethics and Law

Section 9. Ethics and Law

Morality – rules of right conduct concerning matters of greater importance. Violations of such can bring disturbance to individual conscience and social sanctions. Law- rules which are enforced by society. Violations may bring a loss of or reduction in freedom and possessions.

  • Some immoral acts are legally permissible. Can you think of any?
  • Some immoral acts are legally obligatory. Can you think of any?

Not all illegal acts are immoral.

  • Some illegal acts are morally permissible. Can you think of any?
  • Some illegal acts are morally obligatory. Can you think of any?
  • You can probable think of many examples to support this view once you think about it.
  • ==============================================
  • Things that are illegal but are thought to be moral (for many)!
  • Drinking under age.
  • Driving over the speed limit.
  • Smoking marijuana.
  • Cheating on a tax return.
  • Splitting a cable signal to send it to more than one television.
  • =================================================
  • People do not think of themselves or of others as being immoral for breaking these laws.

Can you think of other examples??

  1. =================================================
  2. Things that are immoral (for many) but are not illegal.
  3. Cheating on your spouse.
  4. Breaking a promise to a friend.
  5. Using abortion as a birth control measure.
  6. People can not be arrested or punished with imprisonment or fines for doing these things.

Can you think of other examples?? ================================================= What is the relation of morality to law? Well, when enough people think that something is immoral they will work to have a law that will forbid it and punish those that do it.

  • When enough people think that something is moral, they will work to have a law that forbids it and punishes those that do it repealed.
  • =================================================
  • Proceed to the next section of the chapter by clicking here>>

© Copyright Stephen O Sullivan and Philip A. Pecorino 2002. All Rights reserved.

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Ethics and Law

Why can disobedience be justified?

For the State to accept civil disobedience as justifiable it must recognize the validity of higher moral principles and the right of the individual conscience to disobey a law it considers immoral. Generally it seems that all justifiable civil disobedience is justified by universally acceptable moral principles.

What is an example of moral justification?

1. Moral Justification – Moral justification, reconstructs immoral conduct as serving the greater good. Example: Research shows that many policy officers, when forced to choose between lying under oath (perjury) and testifying against their colleagues, prefer the first option and justify the act as loyalty to their peers.

What is considered breaking the law?

What is ‘Breaking and Entering’? – Although breaking and entering isn’t its own crime in California, understanding what is meant by “breaking” and “entering” can help to explain the actual laws that it typically refers to, specifically burglary and trespassing.

Robert really came to my rescue! I found myself under false accusations and he really came through. I was really freaking out, and Robert was able to make me feel like I was in good hands. I can’t recommend his services enough.” Drew, CA “Breaking” refers to gaining entry into a structure with the use of force or fraud.

Although “breaking” used to be a requirement of a burglary conviction in California, it was eliminated in the 1800s and you can now be convicted of burglary without breaking into a structure in order to commit theft or another felony. “Entering” refers to entry into a building or structure with any part of your body or another object, whether or not you enter completely or directly.

  • For example, reaching inside a building with the use of a tool is considered “entering” because the outer boundary of the building has been crossed, even if your body still remains on the outside.
  • You do not need to enter a house or a building in order to be guilty or breaking and entering.
  • This is a common misconception, as we tend to associate breaking and entering with entry into a home or a business.

However, in burglary cases, courts define the term “building” very broadly, allowing for the inclusion of structures such as storage units, loading docks and even phone booths. Auto burglary is unique in that the car must be locked in order for the defendant to be guilty of the crime.

  • Walking into your neighbor’s garage in order to steal his lawn mower.
  • Breaking a car window in order to steal a wallet that has been left on the dashboard.
  • Entering a closed bank in order to rob it.
  • Breaking into a storage unit in order to commit theft.
  • Using a crowbar to break the window of a storage shed with the intent of committing theft.

Breaking and entering most often refers to burglary, but may also be associated with other offenses. Two of the most common related offenses are trespassing and vandalism. Each of these crimes are explained in more detail below.

How many laws are broken daily?

Decriminalize the Average Man | Wendy McElroy “Outright innocence is not sufficient to escape the brutality of detention.” If you reside in America and it is dinnertime, you have almost certainly broken the law. In his book Three Felonies a Day, civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate estimates that the average person unknowingly breaks at least three federal criminal laws every day.

This toll does not count an avalanche of other laws — for example misdemeanors or civil violations such as disobeying a civil contempt order — all of which confront average people at every turn. An in the Economist (July 22, 2010) entitled “Too many laws, too many prisoners” states, Between 2.3m and 2.4m Americans are behind bars, roughly one in every 100 adults.

If those on parole or probation are included, one adult in 31 is under “correctional” supervision. As a proportion of its total population, America incarcerates five times more people than Britain, nine times more than Germany and 12 times more than Japan.

  1. By contrast, in 1970, less than one in 400 Americans was incarcerated.
  2. Why has the prison population more than quadrupled over a few decades? Why are you, as an average person and daily felon, more vulnerable to arrest than at any other time? There is a simple answer but no single explanation as to how the situation arose or why it continues to accelerate out of control.

The answer: a constant flood of new and broadly interpreted laws are criminalizing entire categories of daily life while, at the same time, the standards required for arrest and conviction have been severely diluted. The result is that far too many people are arrested and imprisoned for acts that should not be viewed as criminal at all or should receive minimal punishment.

Why do people break the law?

Factors including poverty, neglect, low self-esteem, alcohol and drug abuse can be connected to why people break the law. Some people are at risk of offending because of their circumstances.

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The Oxford English Dictionary defines a crime as an act or omission constituting an offence against an individual or the state and punishable by law. A crime is a fact, a matter of law and it is not an opinion. As society changes, some actions which used to be criminal are no longer so.

  • Likewise some actions which were legal can become prohibited.
  • An example of this is the introduction of by-laws which allow local authorities to prohibit drinking in designated public places.
  • Laws are made by the politicians we elect democratically – we may not agree with the law but there are democratic opportunities to change it.
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In a democratic society someone charged with a crime has the opportunity to defend themself. They will be deemed innocent until proven guilty by a criminal court. Punishments traditionally reflect the seriousness of the crime, the most serious are those which involve violence and/or loss of life.

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What are examples of justification defense?

Module Five: Defenses Legal defenses fall into two broad categories: justifications and excuses. Both categories of defenses acknowledge that the criminal act was committed. Justification defenses examine the circumstances existing at the time the act was committed, and excuse defenses examine the defendant’s mental state or beliefs at the time the act was committed.

  • Not every defense fits perfectly within one category or the other and legal scholars sometimes disagree about whether a defense is justified or excused.
  • Self-Defense and Defense of Others Justification defenses are those where a defendant claims that the positives of the act outweigh the negatives.
  • If the circumstances are such that the defendant’s conduct, which would otherwise be criminal, is warranted, then the act may be justified.

Justification defenses include self-defense, defense of others, necessity and consent. Self-defense Self-defense is the use of force towards another person when the actor reasonably believes it is necessary to protect himself against the use of unlawful force by the other person.

  1. Tennessee, for example, allows a person to defend herself with as much resistance as necessary to prevent the offense from occurring if the offense (1) is against her person or (2) is an attempt to take or injure property in her possession.
  2. To constitute self-defense, the act must be in response to an immediate threat and accompanied by an act expressing an intent to execute that threat.

For example, in a Florida case, a husband threatened to kill his wife from inside their home. He took no action to carry out his threat and his wife shot him from a place of safety outside the home. In this case, self-defense was not established. Similarly, threats of future harm usually cannot serve as the basis for a claim of self-defense.

  • Still, courts have recognized an exception for systematically abused people who undertake preemptive strikes against their abusers.
  • This defense, colloquially known as “battered women’s syndrome”, can allow a defense or, in some cases, mitigation of the crime when the battered person strikes while the abuser is asleep or during a pause of the abuse.

The force used in self-defense must not exceed the harm threatened. For example, if an actor shoots a would-be-burglar with a machine gun from thirty to forty feet away while the burglar is fleeing and making no aggressive gestures towards the actor, the defense will probably not apply.

The law places a greater value on human life than property and deadly force is never justified to prevent a trespass upon property in the absence of an imminent threat against the actor or his family. One also generally has a duty to retreat before resorting to the use of “deadly force,” which means force likely to cause death or serious injury.

An actor must make reasonable efforts to withdraw from a confrontation if he can do so safely. Thus, if one has the ability to walk away from a potentially deadly altercation and chooses not to do so, he will not be able to claim self-defense if he does use deadly force.

  1. One exception to the duty to retreat is the castle doctrine,
  2. Under the castle doctrine, a person does not have a duty to retreat if attacked in her own home.
  3. For example, in the North Carolina case, State v.
  4. Browning, the defendant’s brother advanced towards him with a hammer and a knife in an area of the yard about twenty feet from his back door.

The defendant fatally shot his brother. The court held that this area of the yard was close enough to the home so as to entitle the defendant to the benefit of the castle doctrine and to stand his ground. Many jurisdictions have further limited the duty to retreat if the actor is not engaged in any unlawful behavior and is attacked in any place where he has a right to be.

These laws, sometimes known as “stand your ground” laws, have eliminated the duty to retreat when threatened with deadly force, or eliminated it under certain circumstances, such as when the defendant is in his car. Defense of Others “Defense of others” is a defense in a criminal proceeding when the defendant uses reasonable force against another person who is threatening to inflict force upon a third party.

This defense operates similarly to self-defense in that the threat must be immediate, and the force used must be proportionate. As a general rule, defense of others may only be used when the actor would be justified in using force if he were standing in the shoes of the third party he is defending or when defendant reasonably believes that the third person is in imminent danger of injury, even if the belief is mistaken.

  • The defense may not be used if the offense against the third party has already been completed.
  • For example, if a father learns that his daughter was sexually abused after the fact and he then kills the perpetrator, he cannot claim defense of others because the father did not have a reasonable belief that the daughter was in imminent danger of injury.

Other Justifications Necessity The defense of necessity applies when someone commits a criminal act in order to prevent a greater harm from occurring. The defense applies when (1) the actor reasonably believes the conduct is immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm, (2) the need to avoid the harm outweighs the harm of defendant violating the law, and (3) there was no adequate alternative to committing the offense.

For example, if a man drives his pregnant wife to the hospital for medical care while his driver’s license is suspended, the defense of necessity may apply. The defense cannot be used, however, when the defendant creates the situation leading to the necessity of the criminal act (such as by intentionally injuring the person he purports to save).

It also cannot be used in cases of intentional homicide, as killing a person is not justified to save a life except in cases of self-defense. Consent Some crimes, such as rape, require a lack of consent as an element of the crime. Thus, if the victim consents to the act, no crime has actually occurred.

  1. The defense can also be used when the actor consents to a criminal act that might otherwise constitute assault.
  2. Consent can also be implied by participation in an activity.
  3. For example, if someone is injured during a football game the defense will apply because physical injury is a reasonably foreseeable hazard of participation.

The consent must be given intelligently and voluntarily. If someone gives consent while under the influence of drugs and the actor knows the person is unable to exercise a reasonable judgment, the defense of consent will not be available. For public policy reasons, a person generally cannot consent to violent crimes such as murder or serious assault likely to cause death or serious bodily injury except where the benefit outweighs the risk, as in the case of a life-saving but dangerous surgery.

  1. Excuses: Insanity and Diminished Capacity Unlike justification defenses, excuse defenses are not asserted to claim that the act was warranted or proper.
  2. Excuse defenses are used when the actor’s mental state or belief demonstrate that he should not be held responsible for the criminal act.
  3. Excuse defenses include insanity, diminished capacity, duress, mistake, infancy and entrapment.

Insanity If a defendant is legally insane at the time he commits the crime, he may be found not guilty by reason of insanity. The legal definition of insanity is not the same as the medical definition of insanity and the existence of a psychological disorder or mental abnormality alone is insufficient to establish that a defendant is legally insane.

The insanity defense is not allowed in a few states, but those states do allow a “guilty but insane” verdict that provides for institutionalization instead of a prison sentence. Most states allow a verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity” (or similar phrasing) that also allow defendants to be institutionalized as criminally insane.

There are four tests that courts around the country use to determine if a defendant is legally insane: 1. The M’Naghten Rule, which represents the common law rules, requires that a defendant either (1) not understand what he was doing at the time or (2) not understand that what he was doing was wrong because of a disease of the mind.2.

The “Irresistible Impulse” test asks whether or not a defendant was unable to control his impulses which led to the criminal act because of a mental disease.3. The Model Penal Code’s test for insanity requires that a defendant suffer from a mental disease or defect and, as a result, lacks the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.

The Model Penal Code’s test is mainly a combination of the first two tests in that satisfaction of either test allows the defense to work.4. The Durham Rule states that an accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act is a product of mental disease or of mental defect.

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Twenty-five states use the M’Naghten Rule and a few of those states also incorporate aspects of the irresistible impulse test into their insanity jurisprudence. Twenty states have adopted the Model Penal Code test. New Hampshire is the only state that uses the Durham Rule. Even within the same jurisdictions, application of the insanity defense can be somewhat inconsistent.

Consider the following case examples from New York applying the Model Penal Code test: In one case, a defendant successfully used the insanity defense after he stabbed a young boy in the chest while playing video games. At the time, the defendant was taking antipsychotic medication and had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

  • In another case, a defendant was unable to succeed with an insanity defense and was convicted of second-degree murder after he pushed a woman onto the subway tracks during a psychotic episode.
  • The defendant suffered from delusions, was schizophrenic, and had been admitted to psychiatric hospitals on numerous occasions in the past.

Diminished Capacity Diminished capacity is a distinct defense from insanity. A successful insanity defense results in a not guilty verdict, whereas diminished capacity is a defense that often reduces the charge but does not usually absolve the defendant of all responsibility.

This defense generally applies only to specific intent crimes, where diminished capacity can negate an element of the crime. For example, in the California case, People v. Noah, a defendant was involved in an altercation that resulted in a stabbing. He was charged with malicious aggravated assault. Psychiatric evidence was presented to show that the defendant, although sane, suffered from mental defects rendering him incapable of forming the specific intent to assault with malice.

The defendant’s diminished capacity defense could be applied to the specific intent crime of malicious aggravated assault but could not be applied to the general intent crime of aggravated assault. The defendant was convicted and sentenced under the lesser charge of aggravated assault.

Duress and Mistake Duress Duress is a defense to criminal conduct if the person acted while under the threat of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or a third person. Duress is defined as “any unlawful threat or coercion used. to induce another to act in a manner he otherwise would not.” The basis for allowing a duress defense is that the duress experienced would overwhelm the will of an ordinary person.

The defense requires proof of four elements: (1) threat of death or serious bodily injury, (2) the threat must be imminent, (3) the threat must create reasonable fear in the actor, and (4) there must be no reasonable means of escape. Implicit threats are sometimes sufficient to raise a duress defense.

  1. In the Washington case, State v.
  2. Harvill, the defendant was arrested for selling drugs.
  3. He testified that he received multiple aggressive phone calls from the purchaser telling him to “get the drugs.” The defendant feared that the purchaser, who had a reputation for violence, would hurt him and his family if he did not provide the drugs.

On appeal, the court held that a threat arising indirectly from the circumstances could establish that the defendant acted under duress. The defense is not available if the defendant recklessly places himself in a situation where he will likely be subject to duress.

  • Like necessity, duress is also not a defense to a charge of homicide.
  • Mistake There are two types of mistake defenses: Mistake of Fact and Mistake of Law.
  • A mistake of fact can negate an element of the crime.
  • For example, if a defendant is charged with theft, but mistakenly believed the property belonged to him, the mistake of fact defense would apply since it negates the specific intent necessary for theft.

Mistake of fact is not a defense to crimes in which the mistake was a product of negligence or recklessness. Ignorance of the law is generally not a defense. That the defendant didn’t know the speed limit or didn’t know that assault was a crime is no defense.

For example, in the Texas case, Medrano v. State, the defendant was charged with bigamy. His first wife had deserted him over three years ago and the defendant argued that he was operating under the belief that the marriage had become void due to abandonment. The court ruled that this was a mistake of law and could not be relied upon as a defense.

Still, mistake of law defense can be allowed as a defense when the mistake negates an element of the crime. For example, knowledge that taxes are due is an element of the crime of tax evasion. So, ignorance that one owed taxes can be a defense to a criminal charge of tax evasion.

Other “Excuses” Defenses Infancy The defense of infancy applies when a defendant is below the age of responsibility. Children may be deemed not to have the mental capacity necessary to form criminal intent. The minimum age can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It is generally accepted that children under the age of seven cannot form criminal intent.

Beyond the age of seven, the law provides a presumption that a child below the age of responsibility (16 or 17, typically) was incapable of forming criminal intent. However, the prosecution can rebut the presumption by showing that the child knew what he was doing at the time of the criminal act and that the child knew the act was wrong.

  • Thus, a juvenile defendant may be held criminally responsible even if he is below the age of responsibility.
  • In the Nevada case, Poole v.
  • State, for example, a thirteen-year-old defendant was convicted of second-degree murder.
  • That he was capable of criminal intent was shown in that he hid the murder weapon, fabricated stories to attempt to establish an alibi, claimed the shooting was accidental and testified that he knew killing was wrong.

All states have juvenile justice systems in place to deal with young offenders. In most states, this means defendants under age 17, but some states set the age at 15 or 16. There are significant sentencing differences between juvenile court and criminal court with a much greater emphasis on rehabilitation for juveniles.

  • Juveniles do not have the right to trial by jury.
  • Underage offenders are sometimes tried and sentenced as adults when the alleged crime is very serious, and/or the juvenile has serious criminal history.
  • Entrapment Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer induces a person to commit a crime that he would not otherwise have committed for the purpose of instituting a criminal prosecution.

It applies in situations when an officer uses deception, persuasion or fraud to convince an actor to engage in unlawful conduct. If police merely provide an opportunity, the defense will not apply. A key inquiry is whether the idea to commit the crime originates with the defendant or with the police.

To succeed with a defense of entrapment, the defendant must also show no predisposition to commit the crime. This inquiry turns on whether the defendant was an “unwary innocent” who had no predisposition or whether the defendant was an “unwary criminal” who readily availed himself of the opportunity police provided.

Consider the following case: The defendant was charged with possessing and selling cocaine and claimed he was entrapped. The Court found that the defendant had a predisposition to commit the crime because he made references to his supplier, cocaine was present in his car and he used drug-trade jargon.

  • That he might not otherwise have completed this particular transaction without undercover police request did not matter.
  • Thank you for participating in LawShelf’s video-course on the basics of criminal law.
  • We hope this course gives you the background in crimes and criminal law systems that facilitates further study in the area and assists with your understanding of other areas of law for which criminal law serves as a basis.

Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback. Parsons v. State, 81 Ala.577 at *9, *31 (1887). People v. Noah, 5 Cal.3d 469, 478 (1971). Medrano v. State, 22 S.W.684, 684 (Tex. Ct. Crim. App.1893).

What are the 4 most important justification criminal defenses?

What are the four categories of criminal defenses? – Criminal courts require the jury or the judge to determine guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to find the defendant “guilty” for a crime. That is why criminal attorneys employ various criminal defense strategies in order to create reasonable doubt for their clients.

  • When it comes to criminal cases, there are usually four major criminal defense strategies that criminal attorneys employ: innocence, constitutional violations, self-defense, and insanity,
  • Each of these strategies has its uses in different cases, and selecting the best strategy for a case depends on the case itself, but also on the experience and the prowess of the criminal lawyer.

Let’s see what the four primary categories of criminal defenses are.

What did Jesus say about breaking the law?

In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus says, ‘ Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Why should we not break the law?

Answer: Why it’s not okay to break the law? Breaking the law by stealing from others or by assaulting others is never acceptable. A person must break the law not because it is convenient to do so, but because they sincerely believe the law is unjust. Finally, they must be willing to take the consequences of breaking the law.