Criminal Liability in Criminal Law Essay

An individual is culpable of murder if he perpetrates a grave act knowing that it will most likely cause severe physical impairment or death. However, an individual is not culpable of murder if he knew only that his act might conceivably cause death or severe physical impairment. Therefore, to be liable of murder, the test is simply whether or not the accused knew that his actions would in all probability cause death or mortal injury. Further, death must be the ultimate result of the initial action. If death does not occur then the crime, depending on its severity, may only be physical injuries.

Lastly, death must be against another person. It is indispensable in crime of murder that the deceased must be human being, since under the criminal laws of the state of Florida, murder is classified as a crime against persons. For crimes against property like robbery, the statutory elements consist of: (1) a seizing of property from the person or safekeeping of another; (2) by assault, violence, force or putting in fear; and (3) with intent to divest the individual or the possessor of the property (Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal, 2006).

There must therefore be the foremost act of unlawful taking of property from another person through the use of intimidation or violence in order for the crime to be considered as robbery. In other words, there must be an initial unlawful taking supplemented by the taking away of the property. This is proper even if the separation of the property from the previous possessor and absolute control by the taker of the property is only momentarily. The element of force additionally sets apart robbery from larceny, embezzlement, and other forms of theft.

Robbery would also be committed where the aggressor threatens to assault another individual in order to force the latter to hand over his or her property or money. A threat must be direct, which means that the possessor of property will immediately be subjected to force if property is not given to the offender. Therefore, in order for the crime to be considered robbery, the offender must necessarily employ force or fear in the undertaking of removing the property from the possessor’s immediate presence.

The use of force or threat must, however, take place immediately before or at the time of the taking; otherwise, the crime committed is only theft or a separate crime of assault. Intent to divest the owner or the possessor of the property is an internal act which can be ascertained through the overt acts of the criminal. A person’s intention may be gathered from his or her own deeds. Therefore, for instance, the offender’s act of getting hold of possession of the victim’s handbag through violence speaks for itself.

Further, the fact that the handbag of the victim was afterward found to contain a significant sum of money only substantiates that offender had planned to rob the victim from the very beginning. Establishment of Criminal Liability In murder and robbery, every element of the crimes must first be satisfied before the crime is considered consummated. Moreover, to achieve a conviction, the state must establish beyond reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crimes.

Specifically, the elements of intimidation, force and intent to acquire the property in case of robbery, and intent to kill and the resultant death to the human victim in case of murder must be proven. Otherwise, if the State is unsuccessful in proving beyond reasonable doubt any of the aforementioned elements, then the defendant must be acquitted or be charged only with lesser crimes, such as homicide or theft, respectively. Conclusion

The least requirement therefore for an individual to be criminally liable is his or her performance of conduct which includes a deliberate act or the omission to carry out a responsibility required by law which the individual is physically competent of performing. However, for specific crimes, the presence of every elements of crime is also indispensable. It is indispensable, not only in the criminal laws of Florida, but also in every criminal justice system that every elements of crime must be established beyond reasonable doubt.

Otherwise, the absence of at least one element and the failure to prove each element beyond reasonable doubt would change the nature of specific criminal act.


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