Criminal intent is the intent to do something that is forbidden by law. It can be either implied by a person’s actions or a specific requirement of a crime.
What Is Intent to Kill?
Intent to kill refers to a person’s state of mind when they are trying to kill another person. They have the goal, or desire, to end a victim’s life, not just cause the victim to suffer a physical injury. For example, a person wanting simply harm an individual may hit the individual on the head with a baseball bat. Although the victim may die as a result of the injury, the person who hit them with the baseball bat did not intend for them to die, and, thus, did not possess an intent to kill the victim.
Is Intent to Kill a Specific Intent?
Yes. In general, a person must possess certain mens rea, or state of mind, in order to actually be guilty of a crime. While a person’s mens rea is typically implied by their criminal actions, certain crimes require a that the perpetrator possess a specific intent, such as the intent to commit another crime as part of burglary and the intent to kill to for attempted murder. Thus, if a person is required to have the intent to kill as part of committing a crime, then they must have that specific intent to kill in order to be found guilty of the crime
Why Am I Accused of Possessing an Intent to Kill When I Did Not Want to Kill the Victim?
A person with the intent to kill someone can still be found guilty of murdering or attempting to murder another victim. The intent to kill can be transferred to another person if that other person is the actual victim of the perpetrator’s actions. This is called transferred intent.
Is Intent to Kill Only an Issue When Someone Commits or Attempts to Commit Murder?
No. Intent to kill can be an element of other criminal offenses besides murder and attempted murder. For example, North Carolina’s Class C felony assault requires that the perpetrator possess an intent to kill the victim.