If I didn’t know the age ofa person, can I still be found guilty of providing alcohol to a minor?

I was approached by what appeared to be two women while outside the store. They asked if I would buy them a case of beer. 5 minutes later, I was pulled over and the officer informed me that they were underage (still haven’t seen any proof). What defense options do I have?

Asked on September 17, 2010 under Criminal Law, Idaho

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that there are some crimes that are considered "strict liability" which means that you do not have to have intent to commit the crime in order to commit it.  In other words, regardless of your knowledge, if you violate it, you may be arrested.  Other examples of strict liability crimes are speeding or statutory rape.  For example, if you sleep with a girl that looks like she's 25 but turns out to be 14, you may still be arrested for statutory rape.  Therefore, your knowledge of these women being  underage in your case is probably not relevant.  With respect to your defense, I suggest that you retain a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in the interest of obtaining the most favorable resolution possible.


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