At the Kosnett Law Firm, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys know there are two initial factors the courts will consider when evaluating criminal charges in California. First, the crime itself, meaning what did the accused do? Then, his or her intent, meaning what was this person thinking when the alleged crime took place?
Criminal intent is often required to get a conviction in some cases. Without it, the case may not meet the sufficient legal threshold to move forward with a conviction in a specific legal category.
Here, our Los Angeles County criminal defense lawyers explain the difference between how intent is defined in California, and why it makes a difference in our clients’ cases.
How Does California Criminal Law Define Intent?
In California, the courts seek to understand why a crime was committed by identifying the mental component behind the action, known as intent.
Criminal intent is characterized as a person’s resolution or decision to carry out a crime and is defined as either General Intent or Specific Intent.
- General Intent involves committing a criminal act knowingly. This component must be present to be found guilty of committing a crime. The statute implies if an act was conducted accidentally or without the awareness of specific facts, the act could not be sufficient to qualify as criminal behavior.
- Specific Intent requires the commission of a criminal act with knowledge and the intention to utilize the act to bring about a specific outcome. The penal code will specify precisely which mental state the defendant is required to have, which can range from negligence to malice — each of which requires a unique mental condition.
If a crime requires the prosecution to present evidence of both act and intent, your mental condition will make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
How Can the Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kosnett Law Firm Help?
At the Kosnett Law Firm, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers work tirelessly when representing our clients in all our cases, as you cannot be found guilty of the crime if the prosecutor cannot show that you intended to commit the offense.
Making a case for lack of intent may include presenting the facts that:
- The act was impulsive or unintentional.
- You intended to produce a different outcome.
- You no longer possessed the necessary intent when the act was committed.
- Your mental state prevented you from generating the necessary intent.
Each criminal case and client we represent is unique. To discuss your case, and how criminal intent — or the lack thereof — impacts your charges, contact our skilled Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers today.
Contact Our Skilled Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys to Discuss Your Case Today
If you are facing criminal charges in California, contact our skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at the Kosnett Law Firm today by calling (310) 445-5900 or by contacting us online to review your unique circumstances and provide straightforward legal options on how we can help.