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Mistake as to the Law Defining the Offense

This lesson addresses the oft-stated maxim that ignorance or mistake of law is no defense and examines its relevance under the Model Penal Code. Using sample statutes and scenarios, it demonstrates that, as a general principle, no state of mind is required as to whether a defendant's conduct constitutes an offense. The Lesson explores the policies behind the rule and its "reasonable reliance" exceptions. Students have an opportunity to practice applying the various exceptions and to gain an understanding of the burden of proof regarding the reasonable reliance defense.

Lesson Completion Time

25 minutes
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Lesson Authors

Lesson ID

CRIM25