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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found “not guilty” of all charges.


When a Crime is Accidentally Committed

When a Crime is Accidentally Committed


So, you accidentally commit a crime, whatever it may be. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the process, and there were no damages to any property. So what happens next when a crime is accidentally committed?

The first thing to do is to make sure that it is obvious that you were not trying to commit a crime of any sort. Let’s use stealing as an example. Let’s say that you were going through the store trying on clothes and looking at purses when suddenly you see a purse that you really like and put something you also intend to purchase inside the purse to see what it felt like. You wear the purse for a little while around the store, fill up a few more items into your shopping cart, and then go to check out. You purchase everything in your cart, except you forget the purse had another item inside of it. In this particular case, no crime has been committed.

However, there are cases where an accidental crime is still considered a crime, and you can still be punished for the act. A very popular case is when bartenders accidentally serve alcohol to underage people. Even if they checked ID’s every other time but this one, and they end up serving a minor, this is a crime. In fact, it is possible to go to jail for such a crime.

Essentially, this is known as a Strict Liability Law. Strict Liability Laws state that even if you commit the crime by accident, you can still be accused of the crime. In the other case, as long as there is evidence that there was no intent to commit a crime, you cannot be proven guilty in a court of law.

If you have been charged for a crime you did not mean to commit, check with an experienced attorney to see if the police have wrongfully committed you. At John Tumelty Law, Mr. Tumelty will do everything in his power to assist you in your case. Contact his offices today to schedule a consultation.


The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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South Jersey criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty is conveniently located in Atlantic City, NJ. He serves clients in Atlantic, Ocean, Gloucester and Cape May counties and the Jersey Shore, including: Absecon, Atlantic City, Avalon, Brigantine, Buena, Cape May, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Estell Manor, Folsom, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, Hammonton, Linwood, Longport, Margate, Mullica Township, Northfield, Pleasantville, Port Republic, Somers Point, Ventnor,  and Waymouth.