Advice of Counsel Defense

In Florida, it is a defense to a specific intent crime that an alleged crime was committed with a good faith belief that it was lawful based on advice obtained from a lawyer. [1]

Specific Intent Crimes

The defense of Advice of Counsel can only be used as a defense to a specific intent crime, not a general intent crime. [2]

A specific intent crime is where a person commits a particular act in order to achieve some underlying result. (Such as murder.)

On the other hand, a general intent crime only requires an intent to commit an act, not achieve some underlying result. (Such as possession of cocaine.)

Elements of Advice of Counsel Defense

To properly assert an Advice of Counsel defense, the following elements must be satisfied through witness testimony: [3]

  1. All pertinent facts were fully disclosed to counsel;
  2. The counsel's advice was relied on in good faith; and
  3. You were unaware the counsel’s advice was erroneous.

When properly raised, the advice of counsel defense acts as a complete defense to any criminal act you committed as a result of the erroneous advice.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Central Florida or the greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. Huff v. State, 646 So. 2d 742 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994)
  2. Reliance Ins. v. Lazzara Oil Co., 601 So. 2d 1241, 1242 (Fla. 2d DCA 1992)
  3. US v. Lindo, 18 F. 3d 353, 356 (US 6th Cir. 1994)