Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat

Definition - What does Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat mean?

Ignorantia juris non excusat is a Latin term that, loosely translated, means: "Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking it." In other words, criminal and civil defendants cannot claim innocence due to not knowing a particular law. It is the burden of citizens to be aware of the laws of the land.

Justipedia explains Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat

Under the principal of ignorantia juris non excusat, a person would not, for example, be able to rob a bank, and then claim that they did not know that robbing a bank was illegal (as a criminal defense). Trying to use ignorance as a defense would not stand up in court. In such a situation, the person would still face criminal charges and be prosecuted as if they knew that it was a crime to rob a bank.

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