What are General intent and specific intent crimes & their punishments


Legal terms can be highly complicated. If you are facing any kind of legal troubles, it is helpful to understand the kind of terms you can expect to hear as you speak with all those involved in law enforcement. One of the most common terms you can expect to hear if you are working with anyone in the legal field is what is known as general intent crimes. General intent offenses are generally distinguished from what is known as specific intent crimes.

The concept of general vs. specific intent crimes can be confusing to figure out, especially if you have no prior legal experience. Sitting down with legal counsel can help anyone determine what are general intent crimes. A lawyer can help by providing examples of general intent crimes, as well as a list of general intent crimes and common law general intent crimes punishment. Any layman can also discover the difference between the two by realizing what the judge or jury is looking for when they are talking about these crimes in court to the defendant.

The Concept of General Intent

Many people wonder what are general intent crimes. General intent crimes come up for defendants because they are the most common forms of criminal charges. General intent offenses are offenses where the person simply did something wrong. General intent offenses do not require the prosecuting attorney to care why the person did something.

For example, if one person punches another after that person calls them a jerk, it does not matter exactly why the person chooses to punch them in the face. These examples of general intent crimes are all about the reality that the person who was punched was hurt. The same is true if someone steals something. The prosecuting attorney does not need to demonstrate why the person stole something. It doesn’t matter if they in general intent crimes if the person stole the food to feed their family or just because they felt like stealing it. The intent is not relevant in this type of criminal case.

General vs. Specific Intent Crimes

There is another type of crime known as a specific intent crime. Any list of general intent crimes includes crimes where the motive is a factor. For example, if someone borrowed something and didn’t return it, this can be considered theft. However, if they forgot to return it by accident such as a lawnmower that is in their garage, this may not be considered a crime at all. If the person borrowed it with the specific intention of never returning that lawnmower, this is an example of a crime with a specific intention. On the other hand, if a person touched a person and caused them harm, that is an illustration of examples of general intent crimes. As long as the person touched them and hurt them, they can be charged with a crime of this kind.

General Intent Criminal Actions

A list of general intent crimes may include crimes such as rape, manslaughter, and arson. It can also include driving under the influence. To the court system, it does not matter why you were drunk when behind the wheel. All that matters is that you had above a certain level of alcohol when you were on the road. The essential point is not that you intended to break the law. Most people do not intend to deliberately break such laws. They simply start drinking and make the mistake of driving under the influence. You are still considered to have broken the law and you can be charged under it. Common law general intent crimes punishment may include fines and jail time.

Specific Intention

On the other hand, certain types of crimes fall under this category. These include crimes such as burglary, conspiracy, child molestation, embezzlement, and forgery. These crimes are some of the most severely punished crimes. For example, deliberate murder is known as premeditated murder. This is distinguished as opposed to taking someone’s life by accident such as driving while drunk. Here again, the intention of the person engaging in the criminal act deeply matters when it comes to the possible penalties. Deliberate malice is punished more severely in the legal code. If you need a bail bonds agent please contact us