Are thousands of North Carolinians violating federal criminal law every day without knowing it even though such violations may subject them to imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine of up to $250,000? Ignorance of the law is generally held not to excuse criminal conduct, but can such ignorance ever be so reasonable and predictable as to constitute a legitimate excuse? Are some laws so obscure, technical, counter-intuitive, or hard to discover that ignorance of the law will be a defense?
Thomas L. Fowler, Ignorance of the Law: Should it Excuse Violations of Certain Federal Restrictions on the Possession of Firearms?, 23 Campbell L. Rev. 283 (2001).