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Should felonies stand if accused lacked intent to do harm?

Accidents are a part of everyday life for New Jersey residents. One of the essential elements that make an action an accident and not an intentional event is that the actor does not mean for the outcome of the action to occur. When someone is physically or emotionally hurt by another person but the actor did not mean for the injury to occur, an accident is usually to blame.

Accidents and crime sometimes fall into two separate categories. Many crimes require that a person accused of committing an offense both perform the forbidden act and have the intent to commit the crime or cause the resulting harm. Therefore, intent is often an important element in bringing criminal charges against a person.

A Livingston man recently had several charges of felonies held up against him after his attorney argued he had no intent of committing an alleged crime. The man was accused of attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend when a gun he had in his car fired and the bullet struck the woman in the head. Though he did not mean for the woman to be injured and even drove her to the hospital following the accident, a judge determined that he should still face the charges brought against him by prosecutors.

In addition to facing allegations of attempted murder the man will also face charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and aggravated assault. All of these charges could add up to significant penalties if he is convicted of the crimes.

Both sides of this matter may now have to prove their assertions that the man either intended to shoot the woman or that the incident was simply a horrible accident. Accidents can clearly have bad results but not all injury-causing events are eligible for punishment through the criminal courts.

Source:, "Attempted murder charge stands for man who's gun fired," April 11, 2014