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How Can A Prosecution Prove Intent

Full Video Transcript

To prove someone guilty of any crime, the prosecution generally must prove, 1. That the person physically committed the act in question, and 2. That the person intended to commit the crime. Intent in criminal law is complicated. It refers to a person’s state of mind. Criminal intent can be either general intent or specific intent. Most crimes are classified under one of the those two categories. Specific intent crimes, require that the person actually intend to commit the crime. General intent crimes only require proof that the person intended to commit the act, not the crime. For example, theft requires specific intent of not only taking the item but also intending to permanently keep it – depriving the owner of possession permanently. With general intent crimes, the fact that the act was committed is enough to prove intent.

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