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Intention features strongly in some types of crimes

There are several options when it comes to mounting a defense against Georgia criminal charges. One involves several ways of framing the intentions of the defendant. Ignorance of the law, also referred to as a mistake of law, almost always fails, but other defenses are possible under the mens rea doctrine. These arguments may involve the defendant's lack of intention or "guilty mind".

In the case of carelessness, a defendant may argue that the negligence was not malicious and does not qualify for criminal penalties. In one example, a homeowner leaves yard tools on the sidewalk. A passerby or neighbor is then injured after tripping over them. This could result in civil liability in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit but no criminal charges.

A mistake in fact can be a viable defense against a felony or misdemeanor charge. Defendants can argue that they did not know their behavior was illegal. For instance, sale of a illegal drug that the defendant thinks is a perfectly legal substance could be presented by a criminal defense attorney as a mistake in fact. There are other crimes for which no "guilty mind" is necessary to obtain a conviction, however. One example is statutory rape. It does not matter that the defendant believed that the minor was over the age of 18, even if the minor made false representations.

There could be significant and harsh penalties if a person is convicted of a crime. Accordingly, those who are facing charges may find it advisable to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney in attempting to combat them.

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