This lesson explains how the MPC deals with the maxim "ignorance of the law is no excuse." It addresses the general rule that a defendant need not know his or her conduct is criminal and looks at the exceptions to that general rule found in MPC § 2.04(3)(b).
On completion of the lesson, students will be able to:
1. Discuss the relevance of the maxim, "ignorance of the law is no excuse," under the Model Penal Code.
2. State the limited defense found in Model Penal Code § 2.04(3).
3. Explain the issue of mistakes or ignorance as to the law defining the offense itself.
4. Analyze the limited instances which allow a mistake defense as to the law defining the offense.