Strict Liability Crimes

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What is Strict Liability?

In today's criminal law system, people are usually only punished when they have the requisite 'mens rea' which is Latin for guilty mind. In other words, we don't punish those that we don't see as morally blame worthy. If you intentionally break the law, you are seen as having a guilty mind. But, there are a handful of crimes that don't require a mens rea. These crimes are called strict liability crimes.

What Is a Strict Liability Crime?

As mentioned above, a strict liability crime is a crime that requires no mens rea. That is, they are crimes that doesn't require you to intend to do something wrong or morally blameworthy. In other words, you are held responsible regardless of your intention(s). Even though you don¿t have the guilty mind that usually makes a criminal morally blame worthy, you are held responsible for your actions.

What Are Some Examples of Strict Liability Crimes?

The concept of a strict liability crime can be hard to understand. Here are some examples that may help clarify any confusion:

How Are Strict Liability Crimes Justified?

While it may seem unfair to criminally punish people for making apparently honest mistakes there is at least one justification. In most cases, the benefits to society of strictly enforcing these laws outweigh the costs of punishing someone who appears to be without blame.

I Have a Question about Strict Liability Crimes, Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you are accused of a crime, contact a lawyer immediately. A lawyer with experience in criminal law can advise you of your rights and defenses. If you would like to learn more about strict liability crimes, a lawyer can be very helpful and inform you of the law in your area.

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Last Modified: 07-24-2013 02:53 PM PDT

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