Simple English definitions for legal terms
Read a random definition: shaken-baby syndrome
In criminal law, the presumption of natural and probable consequences means that a person can be held responsible for the consequences of their actions, even if they did not intend for those consequences to occur. This is because certain actions are so likely to result in certain outcomes that it is reasonable to assume that the person who committed the action knew or should have known what would happen.
For example, if someone sets fire to a building, they may not have intended for anyone to be hurt or killed. However, it is reasonable to assume that they knew or should have known that people could be hurt or killed as a result of their actions. Therefore, they can be held responsible for any injuries or deaths that occur as a result of the fire.
Another example is if someone drives drunk and causes an accident that results in someone's death. Even if they did not intend to kill anyone, it is reasonable to assume that they knew or should have known that driving drunk could result in a serious accident and someone's death. Therefore, they can be held responsible for the death.
The presumption of natural and probable consequences is important in criminal law because it allows prosecutors to hold people accountable for the harm they cause, even if they did not intend to cause that harm. It also serves as a deterrent, as people are more likely to think twice before engaging in actions that are likely to result in harm to others.