What are the advantages and disadvantages of strict liability crimes?
Strict liability crimes have no mens rea element and permit people who are blameless or who committed the crime as a result of an unavoidable accident to be convicted of crimes.
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Strict liability crimes are crimes in which the prerequisite mens rea is absent. Mens rea has to do with the formulation of criminal intent before the crime is committed. Good examples of strict liability crimes are: parking your car in a no parking zone. In other words, you did not realize the zone was a no parking zone. Selling alcohol to an underage person/ alcohol was sold to this individual but the seller did not know the person was under age. This particular strict liability crime has come under fire in recent years. Another example is: engaging in sexual intercourse with an under-aged person when the other party is of age. This law, of course, is meant as a protective mechanism to our youth.
The law always permits defenses. Whether they are acceptable to the trier of fact is another matter.
Most traffic offenses are basically strict liability, however, if you are sitting at a red light and a person pulls a gun on you, are you to wait until the light turns green, or break the law and run it to save yourself from bodily harm?
This is the Necessity/Justification defense.
Another example is the "Competing Harms" doctrine. One has to choose between the lesser evil of offense to come out with the least harm.
The Due Process Clause is always an argument that when an offense is committed, the lesser harm to society/self, should prevail.
What is the Due Process Clause, well it means what Process is a defendant Due, to reverse it. It hardly seems the "Legislative Intent" of an enacting body that if someone flees a person shooting at them, they should be charged with speeding, running a red light, etc.
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