Topic: criminal or not

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RandallC

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I was thinking tonight:


At what point does a regular person become a criminal? Is it when they commit the crime or when they have the intent?

Discuss.......
 

Billw

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Well, according to the law, intent is not required for a crime to be committed. That said, intent bears upon the severity of the crime. First Degree Murder, for example, requires intent be proven.

If you are speaking of Natural Law, as opposed to statutory law, well the same is true. Destruction of another's property, for instance, can be accidental but fault is still present and restitution is required.

So I guess, all in all, you become a criminal when you commit the crime, intent notwithstanding. Ignorance of the law is no defense, as they say.

You forgot one other scenario happening in many places around the country, though: When the laws change can you become a criminal in the absence of intent?
 
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RandallC

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What got me thinking was a picture on Twitter. It said something like “criminals are less likely to commit a crime after being shot” or something so how do you define a criminal
 

Billw

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I used to be on Twitter and Facebook but I gave 'em up. I am a happier, more productive man now. :)

That's a good point. I don't think I'd shoot a man without him intending to be a criminal. Unless one of my daughters was involved....... Otherwise, I'd want to know intent was present. For example, a kid breaking into my house. I'd want to know he intended to break into my house as opposed to him being drunken or otherwise in an altered state and thinking he was breaking into his own before I shot him.
 
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RandallC

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Ya true but even being out somewhere.

Does a person become a criminal when he draws a weapon to do harm but has yet to do any harm or even any demands up to that point?
 

Billw

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Ya true but even being out somewhere.

Does a person become a criminal when he draws a weapon to do harm but has yet to do any harm or even any demands up to that point?
Yes. I believe that if a person draws a weapon to do unjust harm they become a criminal. Probably even before that, when the intent was born. At the point where they form the intent they become a criminal but nobody knows about it until that intent becomes clear.

In fact, the Israelis have made discerning intent into quite a science. An imperfect science but a science nonetheless. DHS and the Secret Service have adopted many of their techniques including a "point system" for threat identification. I actually teach a course on threat identification and interdiction using that point system.
 

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