Facing a criminal charge in Broward County is a trying time in your life. If you’ve never been charged with a crime before you are likely frightened, worried, and anxious to find out what will happen. You could be thinking about losing your freedom, facing years in prison, and having to find a way to pay thousands of dollars in fines to the court if convicted. But, can you avoid conviction if you didn’t commit all elements of the crime for which you’ve been accused? This is a scenario we will explore in today’s post.
Ignorance of the Law is Not a Defense
A common question that defense attorneys get all the time is, “Can I be charged with a crime if I didn’t know what I did was illegal?’ Any judge who presides over your case will immediately tell you that ignorance of the law is not a defense to being charged with a crime. This defense will not help you successfully avoid a conviction when charged with a crime in Florida. Instead, you and your defense attorney need to consider a mistake-of-fact defense, which would offer a higher likelihood of having the charges either dropped or reduced.
Accessory to a Crime
In order to answer the question posed at the start of this post, we need to look at being an accessory to a crime. When someone is labeled an accessory to a crime they have been deemed to have assisted in the commission of a crime but did not take part in the actual commission of said crime. This means that you are not the principal in the crime, or the person who acted illegally and with mens rea (having a guilty mind).
So, to answer the question posed above, it is possible to be convicted of a crime if you did not commit all the elements of the crime. There are many crimes committed in Florida where an accomplice, or accessory to the crime, has been charged in connection. These subjects typically face lesser penalties if convicted of the crime, including less time in prison and lower fines that have to be paid.
Conviction on Certain Aspects of a Crime
It is possible that you could face conviction on certain aspects of a crime, instead of the entire crime that occurred. For example, if you were the getaway driver for a bank robbery, you would be charged as an accomplice. You wouldn’t face robbery charges since you physically were not present in the bank at the time of the robbery.
Schedule a Consultation with a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Have you been charged with a crime in Florida? This is not the best time to try your luck at the law by defending yourself. You need to protect your freedom and your rights by speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call the offices of Piotrowski Law at 954-947-5000 today to schedule a consultation or be sure to complete the contact form on the website and someone will reach out to you in a timely manner.