In law, an intervening cause can prevent a criminal defendant’s liability. An intervening cause refers to an event happening between an initial event and series of events that happened later. The event changes what would have be the natural sequence of events. Thus, the natural sequence of events are no longer connected to the initial act.

How Does Intervening Cause Change a Criminal Defendant’s Liability?

It may interrupt the course of events between the defendant’s conduct and the ultimate harm done to the victim.

What Is a Dependent Intervening Cause?

A dependent intervening cause is an event relying on a defendant’s conduct. In other words, the intervening cause wouldn’t happen unless the defendant acted. For example, security guard firing a pistol and injuring a bank employee because the defendant robbed the bank.

Is An Independent Intervening Cause the Same As a Dependent Intervening Cause?

No. An independent intervening cause is an unexpected event. This event interferes with chain of events the defendant set in motion. An example of an independent intervening cause is an individual shot someone. That person was later struck by a vehicle and killed while seeking medical attention. The independent intervening cause is the vehicle striking the person.

What Does Foreseeable Mean Regarding Dependent Intervening Cause?

Foreseeable refers to a defendant knowing his conduct would cause an event such as a hit-and-run. Unforeseeable means the defendant has no idea his conduct would lead to a crime.

Should I Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you are accused of a crime, contact a criminal defense lawyer. If your conduct was unforeseeable and lead to a crime, you may not be liable. A criminal lawyer will look at the facts of the cause to determine if charges should be dropped.