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Criminal Intent: General vs. Specific Intent Crimes

Criminal Intent: General vs. Specific Intent Crimes

Evaluating Two Types of Intent in Criminal Cases

When a person gets charged for a crime, their case may be heavily impacted by the element of intent. In most cases, a person will face harsher charges and, subsequently, punishments for intentionally committing a crime compared to those they would face if they committed the alleged crime by accident.

“Intent” refers to the mental aspect behind an action and is typically shown by circumstantial evidence, including the defendant’s knowledge and specific acts. In criminal law, prosecutors have the burden of proving both criminal intent and the commission of an unlawful act to convict a defendant of a crime, and various jurisdictions classify criminal intent into “general” and “specific.”

General intent crimes refer to a crime that was intentionally committed but did not involve intent for a specific outcome. In other words, a general intent crime is one that is committed with no thought to the result it may produce. General intent crimes only require the prosecution to prove that a crime has been intentionally committed rather than prove that the defendant intended to cause or produce a specific outcome.

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Rape
  • DUI
  • Arson
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • False imprisonment

Specific intent crimes are ones that are committed with the intent to not only commit a crime but also cause a particular outcome as a result of that act. Specific intent crimes are deemed more serious than general intent crimes because of a defendant’s desire to produce a specific outcome as a direct result of their offense.

As such, the prosecution has the burden of proving that a defendant intended to perform an unlawful act with a desire to produce consequences as a result. Examples of specific intent crimes include:

  • Theft
  • Larceny
  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated battery
  • Embezzlement
  • Forgery
  • Solicitation
  • Child molestation
  • Murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Conspiracy

Retain a Top-Rated Oakland Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Nothing is more important than your freedom, future, and reputation. Whether you were charged with a general intent or specific intent offense, the bottom line is that you must defend your best interests with the help of a highly experienced and proven attorney. As such, your case may greatly benefit from the representation of Attorney Ahmed of the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed. When you do, you will receive the utmost dedication and priority, as his mission is to help minimize the impacts of your case and fight for the outcome you deserve.

Wait no longer to discover how we can serve you and contact us online or at (510) 907-6600!