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What 2 states punish for drug possession when the defendant

Customer Question
claims he did not know...
What 2 states punish for drug possession when the defendant claims he did not know they were drugs.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Criminal Law
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10/27/2009
Criminal Lawyer: P. Simmons, Lawyer replied 8 years ago
P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 35,713
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All states and the federal government can prosecute for possession regardless of the claims of the accused. At the same time, the state (or the feds) will have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused knew that he was possession of the material....if the state can not prove this they can not get a conviction.






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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

My professor says there are only two states. Let me give you the question:

 

 

Only two states punish possession of controlled substances even though defendants do not know they item they possess is illegal drugs. Is this a proper policy? Why or why not?

 

Could you pleas clarify>

Criminal Lawyer: P. Simmons, Lawyer replied 8 years ago
I will send this to someone who may be able to assist...just a moment please

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Criminal Lawyer: Michael J, Esq., Lawyer replied 8 years ago
Michael J, Esq.
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Satisfied Customers: 3,473
Experience: Licensed attorney experienced in criminal matters, having represented hundreds of clients with every misdemeanor and felony imaginable.
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tscott -

It does not appear that the question asks for the names of the two states, but rather wants to know your thoughts on whether it is a proper policy to punish someone for possessing a controlled substance when they don't know it is illegal.

Would you like for me to answer the policy question?

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Yes, please answer the policy question. I would also like to know the 2 states if you have that answer.
Criminal Lawyer: Michael J, Esq., Lawyer replied 8 years ago
I do not have the information on the two states, but will answer the policy question.

In my opinion, this is not a proper policy. The purpose of criminal statutes is to punish criminals who engage in illegal activities and know they are doing so. Consequently, most criminal statutes contain an element of intent, also known as "scienter". Most of the time, it must be proven that the accused had the mens rea, or "guilty mind" at the time of the alleged infraction, in order to punish them. Specifically, state statuets that deal with controlled substance typically punish the possessor for a knowing possession. Otherwise, in cases where they possess something that they don't know is illegal, what have they done wrong? The law should punish those who have guilty minds and intend to do wrong and not those who unwittingly break the law. Obviously, this does not apply to all laws, but should apply to criminal statutes dealing with the possession of controlled substances. Leaving out the element of scienter is a terrible policy decision for these two states because it does not properly punish the guilty mind.

Hope this helps,

If my answer was helpful, please click ACCEPT so i may be compensated for my time. If you are not satisfied with the Answer, please feel free not to Accept, and post a follow up question so I may be able to clarify my Answer. My goal is to provide an outstanding Answer, so give me a chance.

Regards,

Michael
Michael J, Esq.
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