• Why is legal impossibility a defense to crime but factual impossibility is not? ?
- 4 months ago
Factual impossibility means that the accused attempted to commit a crime, but was unable to succeed because they were operating off of false information. For example, if the accused tried to murder someone by shooting at them through a wall because they believe that person was on the other side of it, when in fact they are not. In this example, the accused was trying to commit a crime, but failed because they had the wrong information.
A legal impossibility is when the accused commits what they believed was a crime, when in fact their actions were not criminal. For example, if the accused believed it was illegal to import alcohol from Mexico to the USA and got caught trying to smuggle alcohol into the USA from Mexico. Since it isn't a crime, they can't be punished for doing it, even though they clearly had the intent to commit a crime.