Dr. Phillips Criminal Defense: Strict Liability
- What is strict liability? Traditionally, in the majority of cases the State is required to show that the Defendant committed the offense, and that the offense was done intentionally. However, there is a different subset of crimes that is classified as strict liability. Strict liability crimes are those crimes that require only that the offense itself occurred, regardless of whether the offense was committed intentionally. In other words, the intent of the Defendant is not relevant in the analysis.
- Example of strict liability crime? Consider the crime of Statutory Rape, which requires that an adult (over 18) has sexual contact with a minor. Statutory Rape is strict liability, in that even if the Defendant had no intention of sleeping with a minor, if he does in fact sleep with a minor he can be found guilty of the offense.
- Example: Defendant is 19 years old. He meets a girl who’s 15 but lies to the Defendant, who claims she’s 18. She has a fake ID and pretends to be 18 years old. The Defendant engages in consensual sexual contact with the girl, believing he is sleeping with an 18 year old (no reasonable person would think she was underage: she looks 18, she acts 18, she had an ID that shows she’s 18, and she tells everyone she is 18). However, even though there was no intent to sleep with an underage girl, the Defendant in this example has committed a crime of statutory rape.
- Defenses & Mitigation: The Main Defense to this offense is that the incident NEVER occurred. In the above example, the Defense would be that the incident never occurred. However, in most cases where denial is not an option, the primary job of the Defense Attorney is negotiation with State. It is important that your lawyer understand the nuances of the law, what the proper grounds for a departure are, and what the common motivators are for a state to dismiss or to lower charges in a given case.
If you are being charged with a Strict Liability Offense, give us a Call at 407-930-8912. Dr. Phillips Criminal Defense Lawyers. We handle cases across the State of Florida.