If you grew up in the United States, you probably heard that “ignorance of the law is no excuse” a thousand times or more. It’s an old legal principle that has worked well for centuries. Since ancient times, every adult of sound mind has known that murder, assault, rape, and robbery are crimes, and until the modern era, those were very nearly the only crimes. What a different world the 21st century is. Almost anyone can accidentally break the law without even being aware of it. Hundreds of tax laws, traffic laws, financial laws, environmental laws, computer laws, and housing and employment discrimination laws – laws that didn’t exist a century ago – govern large parts of our lives. The truth today is that in some cases, ignorance of the law may actually be a legitimate excuse.

Some legal thinkers, pointing to thousands of obscure laws and regulations that impact every area of life, are rightly saying that no one can be realistically expected to know so many laws – not even lawyers, who are becoming increasingly specialized. However, ignorance of the law isn’t an accepted legal defense just yet, so if you’re charged with a crime in Mineola, Nassau County, Suffolk County, or anywhere in the state of New York, you’ll need to obtain high-quality legal representation immediately. Speak right away with an experienced Queens criminal defense lawyer. When you face criminal charges, obtaining the counsel of a trustworthy, experienced defense attorney is always the smartest decision.

Society stills expects everyone to know that murder, assault, rape, and robbery are serious crimes. But the hundreds of other newer laws and regulations aren’t merely trivial rules. They exist for a reason, and violating those laws will usually result in criminal charges.

The court does not accept that you did not know you were violating a law as a defense. It also does not care whether you committed the crime while you were under the influence of alcohol. In the state of New York, intoxication is not allowed as a defense to any sort of criminal charge. However, since a jury must determine if you acted with criminal intent, jurors may consider whether alcohol (or some other intoxicant) impaired your ability to form a criminal intent. You can not win by claiming, “I did it because I was drunk,” and the fact that you may not remember the incident is, legally speaking, largely immaterial. What your defense attorney must prove is that you had no ability to form a criminal intention. Every case is different, and every juror is different. What you need is a defense lawyer who will examine every detail of the alleged crime, present the most effective defense, and bring your criminal case to its best possible conclusion.

If you’re accused of a crime on Long Island or in New York City – whether or not you are guilty or knew it was a crime – get the legal help you’re going to need and immediately contact an experienced Queens criminal defense lawyer.