Locate a Local Criminal Lawyer
What Is Murder?
Murder involves committing homicide, or a killing of a human being, with malice. Sometimes, malice is referred to as malice aforethought. Malice itself is not a specific criminal act. Instead, it is a part of many crimes where a person wants to cause harm to another.
What Is Malice?
Malice is the desire to engage in an evil action or commit a wrongful act. In criminal law, that wrongful act is usually one that is harmful to someone and done without any legal justification, cause, or provocation.
Do Malice and Criminal Intent Have the Same Legal Definition?
No. As previously mentioned, malice is the desire to do a wrongful act or act in an evil manner. Typically, that wrongful act is physically harming someone. Criminal intent is the intent to actually commit a specific crime instead of possessing a general desire to do something evil. Sometimes a crime may have both malice and criminal intent as elements, but they are not the same.
Is Malice Only in Criminal Law?
No. Malice is found in tort law as well. It still has the same general definition of being a sense of ill will or desire to do evil. However, it is not part of any attempt to physically harm someone, but rather to inflict psychological or financial harm. In the context of tort law, a person usually acts with malice to harm an individual’s reputation or livelihood. This is the case with libel and slander. Libel is a false and malicious statement made in print. Slander is a false and malicious statement said about someone. For a public figure to prove a libel or slander case, they must prove the defendant did the act with malice.
Can I Go to Prison for Acting with Malice?
Yes, but the exact punishment that someone may face depends on the criminal offense a person is charged with committing. For instance, a person convicted of murder can be sent to prison for the rest of their life.
Can I Go to Prison for Acting with Malice in a Tort Case?
No. Tort cases focus on providing a remedy such as money to the wronged person or requiring the defendant to act or avoid acting in a certain manner in an effort to remedy the harm that they have inflicted on the plaintiff. A person who commits a tort with malice will likely be required to pay money to the plaintiff or take some other action to remedy the harm they caused.
Should I Talk to a Lawyer about My Case?
Yes. Although malice can be complicated to prove, any criminal charge involving malice is a serious criminal charge, such as a first degree murder charge. If you are accused of committing a crime with malice, contact a criminal lawyer immediately.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 12-20-2016 05:03 PM PST
Link to this page