Intent is oftentimes a key aspect of a criminal charge. Some charges require specific intent in order for the crime to be committed, while others do not require any intent at all. These are known as strict liability cases, and they only require the prosecution to prove that you in fact committed the act in question. So when does intent matter, and when can you be held strictly liable for your actions? We take a closer look at when intent matters in today’s blog.
Charges Where Intent Matters
There are some types of actions that are only considered a crime if you performed the action with specific intent. For example, you may at some point have realized that you left the grocery store without scanning a small item or something on the bottom of the cart. Although you technically stole the item from the store, you did not intend to steal it, and you could make a pretty compelling case that it was an accident if you do end up facing criminal charges.
Besides theft, some crimes that require specific intent include:
- Premeditated murder/Murder in the first degree
- Child molestation
There are also crimes where general intent matters. General intent means that you knew or had reason to know that your actions were illegal and could result in certain consequences, even if you did not want those consequences to occur. Some crimes that only require general intent include:
- False Imprisonment
When Intent Doesn’t Matter
On the other side of the spectrum, there are a number of crimes where intent doesn’t matter at all. The prosecution only needs to prove that you were behind the act in question. Oftentimes the prosecution will be looking to show that your recklessness or negligence caused the crime to be committed. Some crimes where only recklessness or negligence need to be proved include:
- Involuntary Manslaughter
- Careless Driving
- Disorderly Conduct
- Statutory Rape
- Most Traffic Offenses
Intent can make or break your case, or it may not matter at all. Depending on the charges you are facing, intent could end up shaping your defense. Fortunately, you won’t have to decide which defense strategy is best if you trust your case to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm. We know the ins and outs of the law and will work hard to develop the best defense for you specific case. For more information, or for help with a different criminal matter, give the team at Appelman Law Firm a call today at (952) 224-2277.