Motives in Criminal Law Example

In criminal law, motive is not equivalent to motive. For purposes of having of establishing the commission of a crime, it is necessary that there must be criminal intent. The question then is would not a very strong an every strong motive amount to a crime? In the case at bar, would not a very strong motive, as when one of his three nephews, who is on the verge of ruin like when the latter’s car and home are about to be about to be reposed, amount to evidence establishing intent?

The law answers in the negative. Answers Corporation (2006) said, “In criminal law, motive is distinct from intent. Criminal intent refers to the mental state of mind possessed by a defendant in committing a crime. With few exceptions the prosecution in a criminal case must prove that the defendant intended to commit the illegal act. The prosecution need not prove the defendant’s motive. Nevertheless, prosecutors and defense attorneys alike may make an issue of motive in connection with the case. ”

It is thus clear from the above that the intent must be proved and motive need not be proved. This is because it is the intent that is the requisite or element of crime commission and not motive. (Hall, 1960 citing Sayre, Mens Rea, 45 Harv. L. Rev. 974) 1932). But why do investigators and defendant sometime use motive. As we explain above, the parties may make an issue of motive in connection with a case. Under the case facts, Lou may produce that he had no motive to support the proposition that he did not commit the crime.

But since the case facts say he has the strongest motive the prosecution may link evidence that the defendant did have the motive to commit the crime and argue that the motive supports the proposition that the defendant committed the crime. However Answers Corporation (2006) said, “Proof of motive, without more evidence tying a defendant to the alleged crime, is insufficient to support a conviction. ” (Emphasis supplied) Therefore the strongest motive, in the absence of an evidence or proof, cannot amount to a criminal intent.

An interesting question needs to be responded to: “Is there a requirement to prove motive in certain criminal prosecution? ” Answers Corporation answered in the affirmative saying, “A hate crime is one crime that requires proof of a certain motive. Generally, a hate crime is motivated by the defendant’s belief regarding a protected status of the victim, such as the victim’s religion, sex, disability, customs, or national origin. In states that prosecute hate crimes, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was motivated by animosity toward a protected status of the victim.

Hate-crime laws are exceptions to the general rule that proof of motive is not required in a criminal prosecution. ” In the case bar, there is no evidence that the crime committed is a hate crime since the crime is not motivated by racial, religious, gender, sexual orientation, or other prejudice. There proof of motive is unnecessary. Conclusion What is essential in the crime is the proof of criminal intent. No criminal intent, no crime.

Proof of motive is unnecessary in general except in case of hate crime, but the criminal intent is believed to be established also because the strongest motive without evidence of intent will not result to conviction. Bibliography: 1. Answers Corporation (2006), Motive, definition, {www document} URL http://www. answers. com/topic/motive, Accessed September 12, 2006 2. Hall, J. (1960), General Principles of Criminal Law, Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis. Page Number: 74 3. Sayre, Mens Rea, 45 Harv. L. Rev. 974 ( 1932).