New Jersey Ignorance Mistake Defense

New Jersey ignorance mistake defense is an affirmative defense.

An affirmative defense simply means that when raising this defense the defendant has the burden of proof by the preponderance of the evidence standard.

Under certain circumstances mistake of fact constitutes a defense to a criminal charge.

The mistake of fact must be reasonable and it must negate a culpable - responsible - mental state which is an element of the offense.

The reasonableness of the defendant’s conclusions must be based on the facts known to the defendant at the time and place that he acted unless the defendant should have reasonably apprised himself of other facts before acting.

The defense of mistake is not available if the defendant would have been guilty of another offense had the facts been as he supposed.

Mistake or ignorance of law is generally not available as a defense since an accused to be convicted need not have been aware of the legal standard established by the statute.

Mistake of law is a defense when the mistake or ignorance is reasonable and where that mistake or ignorance negatives a specific element of the offense.

Mistake of law like mistake of fact is not a defense if defendant would have been guilty of an offense had the situation been as he supposed.

Once there is evidence that defendant was mistaken as to a fact or law which negates a mental state the burden is on the state to disprove the mistake.

Do you wish to discuss a possible New Jersey ignorance mistake defense with a New Jersey criminal defense attorney?