TRANSFERRED INTENT

TRANSFERRED INTENT

 This post will answer the following questions on the legal concept of transferred intent:

  • What is transferred intent?
  • What are examples of transferred intent?
  • What does the Commonwealth have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to prove a state of transferred intent?

What is transferred intent?

For many criminal offenses in Massachusetts, one of the elements of the crime that the Commonwealth is required to prove is “intent”to do a certain action.

There is a related legal principle to intent called “transferred intent”. Transferred intent applies when a person intends to harm one person but instead harms a different one. If a defendant intends to harm Person X, but instead harms Person Y, the defendant’s intent to harm X is transferred to Y.

What are examples of transferred intent?

Here’s one example of transferred intent. A man named Nate is at a bar when his ex girlfriend Danielle and her new boyfriend Paul enter the establishment. Nate and Paul exchange some unpleasant words and quickly get into a fistfight. Nate intends on punching Paul in the face, but Paul is quicker. Paul ducks and Nate instead hits another patron at the bar named Steve who happens to be standing directly behind Paul. In this case, Nate’s intent to harm Paul is transferred to Steve.

Here’s another example. Maria is angry with her estranged sister Patricia for not inviting her to Patricia’s daughter’s wedding. So furious, she drives to her mother Laura’s house where she confronts Patricia who happens to be there at the time. After a heated verbal argument Maria attempts to slap Patricia across the face for calling her an offensive word. Patricia steps to the side and Maria strikes Laura instead. In this case, Maria’s intent to harm Patricia is transferred to Laura.

What does the Commonwealth have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to prove a state of transferred intent?

To prove a state of transferred intent, the Commonwealth will be held beyond a reasonable doubt to the same standard as if untransferred intent were in question.

Click on this link to read about the legal standards of untransferred intent.

IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE A LEGAL QUESTION ON TRANSFERRED INTENT, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.

CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.

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