Simple English definitions for legal terms

criminal intent

Read a random definition: NAPABA

A quick definition of criminal intent:

Criminal intent, also known as mens rea, is the mental state required to convict someone of a crime. It's one of the fundamental aspects of criminal law, along with the criminal act. The specific intent needed to prove guilt varies depending on the crime and the state. In some states, criminal intent is split into four categories: purposely, knowingly, recklessly, and negligently. Each crime has an associated level of criminal intent necessary to sustain a conviction. Penalties for the same conduct increase as the mental state/specific intent increases. Some states follow common law doctrines of malice to determine liability. Express malice is deliberate intent to bring harm to the victim, while implied malice is indifference to harm that a victim may suffer due to the defendant's carelessness or inattentiveness.

A more thorough explanation:

Criminal intent, also known as mens rea, is the mental state required to convict someone of a crime. It is one of the fundamental aspects of criminal law, along with the criminal act, or actus reus. The specific intent required to sustain a conviction varies from crime to crime and from state to state.

In some states, criminal intent is split into four categories:

  • Acting purposely: The defendant's goal was to cause the criminal conduct.
  • Acting knowingly: The defendant was practically certain that the conduct would cause a particular result.
  • Acting recklessly: The defendant consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustified risk that the criminal conduct would occur.
  • Acting negligently: The defendant was not aware of the risk criminal conduct would occur but should have been aware of the risk.

Each crime will have an associated level of criminal intent necessary to sustain the conviction. For example, standard murder typically requires a party to purposefully or knowingly cause the death of another human. Therefore, a party who only negligently causes the death of another human cannot be found guilty of murder because the criminal intent was lacking.

Penalties for the same conduct increase the higher you travel up the mental state/specific intent list. For example, manslaughter, which requires recklessly or negligently killing another human, is punished less harshly than murder. Additionally, a higher mental state can substitute for a lower one. A party who purposefully kills another human can still be found guilty of manslaughter even though their criminal intent was purposeful rather than reckless.

A minority of states instead choose to follow common law doctrines of malice. These jurisdictions determine liability by categorizing the type of malice accompanying any given criminal action between:

For example, if someone intentionally shoots and kills another person, they have acted with express malice. If someone accidentally hits and kills a pedestrian while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they have acted with implied malice.

These examples illustrate how criminal intent is an essential element of criminal law. Without the proper mental state, a person cannot be convicted of a crime, even if their actions caused harm or damage.

criminal insanity | criminal justice


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and UPenn for that matter! Would be greatly appreciated
yay pookie! congrats!
omg this guy on the deposition is screamingggg
And congrats!!!!!!<3
like it's crazy
i've heard great things about UVA! I visited upenn and hated it so much / felt so uncomfy there and the starbucks by campus got robbed while i was there waiting for my tour to start lol
@OptimisticOutlier That sounds terrible, I'm sorry you had to experience that lol. Can I ask what made you feel uncomfortable? Like the sketchy vibes of the city or like the camp\us itself etc.?
penn is in a nice area
right next to drexel
it was campus itself, honestly i can't explain what it actually is. I felt the same way when I was touring schools for undergrad, pretty much pulled up to upenn and told my mom i knew i didn't like it and didn't need to take the tour lol
would argue with the nice area piece lol i think all of philly is kinda scary, someone pulled a gun on my team while we were down for a football game at upenn and walking around at night
but that said, i'm pretty happy i moved to pa after school and i know lots of people love upenn!
dear god is that sketchy
definetly safer than how its being described
people are absolutely crwzy
yeah yeah will 10000% agree i've had like bad outlier experiences lol
u are the optimistic outlier after all
how do i tell my boss im quitting and need to take off on monday (visiting ND on monday to meet with dean and check the vibes, was gonna put in my 2 weeks regardless
i luv being an art hoe snob
believe it or not i didn’t miss any calls
Lol all of philly is a dumpster fire
Yet i am moving there for law school in 14 days lol
@OptimisticOutlier: congratulations!!!
I live in that area. It isn't bad at all
[] ararara
Optimistic whaaaaaat?! Now we’ve gotta have some fun! Did we disco? Take your lil victory lap I know that’s right! Make sure to leave some wisdom behind on your profile for the future users!
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