Your Mental State During the Commission of a Crime

jail, prisoner

What You Need to Know About Criminal Conduct & Criminal Intent 

Author: Aiya Harb

Louisiana is unlike any other state – from our culture to our geography, and even our relaxed way of life – our laws are no exception.

On October 1, 1800, and just 24 hours after signing a peace treaty with the United States – Napoleon Bonaparte then bought Louisiana from Spain. Napoleon wanted control of our coast so he could profit by creating an international port in New Orleans. Napoleon began stationing French troops and moving settlers into his new territory, while flooding the market with products from France.

Now that we’ve got some background information... let’s talk about the law!

Elements of Criminal Conduct 

Due to the heavy French influence, our laws derive from a Civil Code, which is an adapted version of the Napoleonic Code. Other states' legal systems are based upon a “common law” system. The main difference between the two – the Civil Code focuses heavily on the direct interpretation of the law, while a common law system gives greater deference to legal precedent. Since Louisiana is a civil law state, our interpretations of the law tend to be a bit different.

Let’s get into the basics…

Criminal conduct consists of:

  1. An act or failure to act that produces criminal consequences and which is combined with criminal intent; or
  2. A mere act or failure to act that produces criminal consequences, where there is no requirement of criminal intent; or
  3. Criminal negligence that produces criminal consequences.

What Is criminal intent?

Criminal intent refers to a person’s mental space behind an action prior to the crime being committed. Intent may be specific or general, and here is how they are different:

  • Specific intent is the state of mind that exists when the circumstances indicate that the offender actively desired the criminal consequences to follow his act or his failure to act
  • General intent is present if there is no specific intent, and when the circumstances indicate that in the ordinary course of human experience, the offender must have been aware or should have been aware of the criminal consequences that would result from his act or failure to act.

Criminal Negligence Explained

At the same time, criminal negligence exists when there is neither specific nor general criminal intent – but there is a disregard for the interest of others that the offender’s conduct amounts to a gross standard deviation that is below the standard of care that is expected by a reasonable person in like circumstances.

Arrested? Schedule A Consultation Today. 

At The Scott Law Firm, our Louisiana criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. We can scrutinize the prosecution's allegations, breaking down each element of their case against you and working to help you get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. To get in touch, please contact us online or at (225) 396-5262