Intent vs Motive

Experienced Florida crime defense attorneys and criminal prosecutors analysis criminal intent and motive in establishing criminal cases.

A defendant’s criminal intent is one of the key factors in determining guilt in a crime case. In legal parlance, it is referred to as “mens rea,” which means “guilty mind.” The intentions of the defendant and what he or she was thinking at the time the crime was committed can make an important difference to the outcome of a criminal case. Criminal Defense lawyers representing the interests of their clients must not blur the distinction between criminal intent and motive. Mens rea in the criminal justice system creates a differentiation between someone who had a premeditated intention to commit a crime and someone who had no such intention.

Criminal versus Negligent
Criminal lawyers emphasize that negligence is the commonly used legal term for carelessness. An act of negligence usually results in civil liability, rather than criminal. Under several criminal statutes, the standards of negligence have been raised to include reckless or criminal negligence.