Send News. Want a reply? Read this. More in the FAQ.   News Forum - All Forums - Mobile - PDA - RSS Headlines  RSS Headlines   Twitter  Twitter
User Settings
LAN Parties
Upcoming one-time events:

Regularly scheduled events

Morning Legal Briefs

Post Comment
Enter the details of the comment you'd like to post in the boxes below and click the button at the bottom of the form.

33. Re: Morning Legal Briefs Mar 27, 2013, 16:25 Beamer
PHJF wrote on Mar 27, 2013, 16:17:
Plus, laws don't necessarily care what your intention was

They absolutely do. Criminal laws establish the culpable mental state of the offender as an element of the crime (negligently, recklessly, knowingly, purposefully).

It's kind of hard to recklessly or negligently aim green lasers at an airplane and then a police helicopter. The little shit got exactly what he deserved.


Sec. 39A. Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft
(a) OFFENSE -- Whoever knowingly aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at the flight path of such an aircraft, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

Bingo bango. Not knowing something is illegal? Not a defense.

Yes, words like reckless imply that a crime can be a crime even if you didn't intend to do harm. This is called mens rea.

But laws don't necessarily have to care.

And some crimes can be a crime regardless of what you meant. Possession of child porn, for one. Have sex with a 14 year old? You're going to jail, even if she looked 60, you checked her birth certificate and social security number, you interviewed her parents, saw a birth announcement from 1953, etc. Most of those laws, as well as things like child pornography laws, or speeding laws, also lack any reference to mens rea.

This is called strict liability. You are liable for doing something regardless of whether you meant to, or whether you were even slightly wrong or negligent for it.

And not knowing something is illegal is never a defense. Well, almost never. If a law is passed and you do something an hour later you may have some kind of defense.
Music for the discerning:
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
      ;)   ;)   :(   :(   :o   :o   %)   %)   :)   :)   :|   :|   ;P   ;P   X|   X|   :D   :D   More
Login Email   Password Remember Me
If you have a signature set up, it will be automatically appended to your comment.
If you don't already have a Blue's News user account, you can sign up here.
Forgotten your password? Click here.
          Email me when this topic is updated.

Special Codes

  • b[bold text]b
  • i[italic text]i
  • u[underline text]u
  • -[strikethrough text]-
  • c[code text]c
  • +[bullet point]+
  • q[quote text (indented)]q
  • [quote="Author"]quote text (indented)[/quote]
  • [url=Link]text[/url]
  • r{red text}r
  • g{green text}g
  • b{blue text}b
  • m{maroon text}m
  • s{secret text (shows in the background colour)}s

Forum Rules

  1. Disagree all you want but attacks of a personal nature will not be tolerated.
  2. Ethnic slurs and homophobic language will not be tolerated.
  3. Do not post spam, links to warez sites, or instructions on how to obtain pirated software.
  4. Abusing the forums in any manner that could be construed as 'griefing' will not be tolerated.


Blue's News logo