Defense of Ignorance or Mistake of Fact or Law
Ignorance or Mistake:
(a) A person’s ignorance or mistake as to a matter of either fact or law is a defense if it negatives the existence of the mental state, which the statue prescribes with respect to an element of the offense
(b) A person’s reasonable belief that his conduct does not constitute an offense is a defense if:
- The offense is defined by an administrative regulation or order which is not known to him and has not been published or otherwise made reasonably available to him, and he could not have acquired such knowledge by the exercise of due diligence pursuant to fats known to him; or
- He acts in reliance upon a statute which later is determined to be invalid; 720 ILCS 5/4-8 (2012)
Affirmative Defense: Ignorance or mistake of fact or law is an affirmative defense that must be raised by the defendant with evidence sufficient to raise a reasonable doubt in order to shift the burden to disprove the defense claim to the State. 720 ILCS 5/4-8(d) (2012)
Defense of Compulsion
(a) A person is not guilty of an offense, other than an offense punishable with death, by reason of conduct that he or she performs under the compulsion of threat or menace of the imminent infliction of death or great bodily harm, if he or she reasonably believes death or great bodily harm will be inflicted upon him or her, or upon his or her spouse or child, if he or she does not perform the conduct . 720 ILCS 5/7-11 (2012)
Interesting Point: The defense is only available if the accused performed an act or conduct that is normally criminal.
Interesting Point: This defense requires proof that the accused’s conduct was performed “under the compulsion of threat or menace.” 720 ILCS 5/7-11 (2012)
Affirmative Defense: The defense of compulsion is an affirmative defense. Once this defense is raised, the State must prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on that issue as well as all other elements of the crime charged. 720 ILCS 5/3-2 (2012)
Defense of Necessity
Criminal conduct is justifiable under the defense of necessity if “the accused was without blame in occasioning or developing the situation and reasonably believed such conduct was necessary to avoid a public or private injury greater than the injury which might reasonably result from him own conduct.” 720 ILCS 5/7-13 (2012)
Elements of Necessity:
A defendant may enjoy the defense of necessity concerning conduct that is otherwise criminal if he or she (1) is without blame in occasioning the situation and (2) reasonably believes (3) that the conduct was necessary (4) to avoid a greater public or private injury
Interesting Point: The necessity statute clearly requires that the defendant be without fault in occasioning the situation giving rise to the choice of evils.
Interesting Point: As long as a defendant “reasonably believes” the conduct is necessary to avoid the greater evil, he or she will have a defense. People v. Perez, 97 Ill. App. 3d 278, 281, 422 N.E.2d 945, 948 (1st Dist. 1981)
Defense of Entrapment
A person is not guilty of an offense if his or her conduct is incited or induced by a public officer or employer, or agent of either, for the purpose of obtaining evidence for the prosecution of that person. However, this is not inapplicable if the person was predisposed to commit the offense and the public officer or employee, or agent of the either, merely affords to that person the opportunity or facility for committing an offense. 720 ILCS 5/7-12 (2012)
Elements of Entrapment
- The offense committed must have been induced or incited by a government official. (2) The defendant must be an innocent person no predisposed to commit an offense, who would not have committed the crime had he not been induced. (3) The entrapper must be a public officer or employer, or agent of either. (4) The government’s purpose must have been to create evidence for the prosecution of the innocent accused.
Defense of Consent
Consent is a defense in certain circumstances:
- Offense of Sexual Assault
- Crimes against person, such as kidnapping
- Crimes against property, burglary
Consent is not a defense to all crimes.
Defense of Statue of Limitation
Normally, a felony must be prosecuted within three years of its commission, while a misdemeanor must me prosecuted within one year and six months. 720 ILCS 5/3-5(b) (2012).
Exceptions: A prosecution for first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, second degree murder, reckless homicide, treason, arson, aggravated arson, forgery and child pornography may be commenced at any time.