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Transferred Intent

Much like in tort law, transferred intent applies in the sphere of criminal law as well. The idea of transferred intent allows a person to be prosecuted for intending a crime towards one person or potential victim and actually taking that action out on another person.

In criminal law, transferred intent is frequently explained by the idea that “intent follows the bullet.” This means that an accused person with the intent to kill Person A with a bullet will have the same intent applied in the event that the bullet kills Person B, an unintended victim. While the intent will transfer if the crime is the same, it will not transfer if the crime is different.

For example, when a person intends to commit aggravated battery but misses and ends up damaging someone’s car, he or she cannot be held criminally liable for the damage done to the car. The intent to harm the person does not transfer and become intent to harm a car. The basic nature of the two crimes is too far apart.

Some argue that the idea of transferred intent in the criminal law is ridiculous. They argue that if a person has the intent to harm a person, it does not matter which person that is. The act and intent of harming a person are carried through if the accused hits Person A or Person B. They hold this to be true since intent is generally not described as “Intent to hurt John Smith” but rather “intent to hurt a person.”

Contact an Appleton Criminal Attorney

If you have been accused of a crime, contact the Appleton criminal lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. at 1-888-565-7597 to determine the best plan for a successful defense.