Motive (law)

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For other uses, see Motive (disambiguation).

A motive, in law, especially criminal law, is the cause that moves people to induce a certain action.[1] Motive, in itself, is not an element of any given crime; however, the legal system typically allows motive to be proven in order to make plausible the accused's reasons for committing a crime, at least when those motives may be obscure or hard to identify with. However, a motive is not required to reach a verdict.[2] Motives are also used in other aspects of a specific case, for instance, when police are initially investigating.[3]

The law technically distinguishes between motive and intent. "Intent" in criminal law is synonymous with mens rea, which means no more than the specific mental purpose to perform a deed that is forbidden by a criminal statute, or the reckless disregard of whether the law will be violated.[citation needed] "Motive" describes instead the reasons in the accused's background and station in life that are supposed to have induced the crime. Motives are oftentimes broken down into three categories; biological, social and personal.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Garner, Bryan A. (2005). Blacks Law Dictionary, Abridged Eight Edition. Thomson / West. p. 855. ISBN 0-314-15863-4. 
  2. ^ Law Library - American Law and Legal Information - JRank Articles. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  3. ^ Law Library - American Law and Legal Information - JRank Articles. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  4. ^ Types of Motives: Biological, Social and Personal Motives - See more at: http://www.psychologydiscussion.net/motive/types-of-motives-biological-social-and-personal-motives-psychology/694#sthash.pVsIofWw.dpuf. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2014.