Criminal Law > Criminal Defences > Honest and Reasonable Mistake of Fact

Honest and Reasonable Mistake of Fact

This defence can be raised where you honestly believed that you were acting lawfully when you allegedly committed the offence and that you would not have acted in that way if you knew that what you were doing was against the law. This defence is only available in ‘strict liability’ offences.

Strict liability offences do not require proof that you intended to commit the crime, for example, drink driving, drug driving and speeding offences.

To be successful in this defence, you must present evidence on the balance of probabilities, that:

  • Your mistaken belief was held honestly
  • Your belief was reasonable
  • Your belief was in relation to the fact, not the law