Circumstances Which Exempt from Criminal Liability


EXEMPTING CIRCUMSTANCES – grounds for exemption from punishment
because there is wanting in the agent of the crime any of the
conditions which make the act voluntary or negligent.

Basis: The exemption from punishment is based on the complete
absence of intelligence, freedom of action, or intent, or on the
absence of negligence on the part of the accused.

Burden of proof: Any of the circumstances is a matter of defense
and must be proved by the defendant to the satisfaction of the court.

Par. 1 Imbecility or Insanity
   IMBECILE – one while advanced in age has a mental development
   comparable to that of children between 2 and 7 years old.
   He is exempt in all cases from criminal liability.

   INSANE – one who acts with complete deprivation of
   intelligence/reason or without the least discernment or with
   total deprivation of freedom of will. Mere abnormality of the
   mental faculties will not exclude imputability.

   General Rule: Exempt from criminal liability

       Exception: The act was done during a lucid interval.

   NOTE: Defense must prove that the accused was insane at the
   time of the commission of the crime because the presumption is
   always in favor of sanity.

Par. 2 Under Nine Years of Age

   Requisite: Offender is under 9 years of age at the time of the
              commission of the crime. There is absolute criminal
              irresponsibility in the case of a minor under 9
              years of age.

   NOTE: Under R.A. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice And Welfare Act
   a minor 15 years and below is exempt from criminal liability

Par. 3 Person Over 9 and Under 15 Acting Without Discernment

   NOTE: Such minor must have acted without discernment to be
   exempt. If with discernment, he is criminally liable.
   Presumption: The minor committed the crime without discernment.

   DISCERNMENT – mental capacity to fully appreciate
   the consequences of the unlawful act, which is shown by the:
   1. manner the crime was committed
   2. conduct of the offender after its commission

   NOTE: Under R.A. 9344 a minor over 15 but but below 18 who
   acted without discernment is exempt from criminal liability

Par. 4 Accident without fault or intention of causing it
1. A person is performing a lawful act
2. with due care
3. He causes injury to another by mere accident
4. Without fault or intention of causing it.

Par. 5 Irresistible Force

   IRRESISTIBLE FORCE – offender uses violence or physical force
   to compel another person to commit a crime.

   1. The compulsion is by means of physical force.
   2. The physical force must be irresistible.
   3. The physical force must come from a third person

   NOTE: Force must be irresistible so as to reduce the
   individual to a mere instrument.

Par. 6 Uncontrollable Fear

   UNCONTROLLABLE FEAR – offender employs intimidation or threat
   in compelling another to commit a crime.

   DURESS – use of violence or physical force

   1. The threat which causes the fear is of an evil greater
      than, or at least equal to, that which he is required
      to commit.
2. It promises an evil of such gravity and imminence that an
   ordinary man would have succumbed to it.

   NOTE: Duress to be a valid defense should be based
   on real, imminent or reasonable fear for one’s life or
   limb. It should not be inspired by speculative, fanciful
   or remote fear. A threat of future injury is not enough.

   against my will is not my act.

PAR 7. Insuperable Cause

   INSUPERABLE CAUSE – some motive, which has lawfully, morally
   or physically prevented a person to do what the law commands

   1. An act is required by law to be done.
   2. A person fails to perform such act.
   3. His failure to perform such act was due to some lawful or
      insuperable cause.

   1. A priest can’t be compelled to reveal what was confessed to him.
   2. No available transportation – officer not liable for
      arbitrary detention
   3. Mother who was overcome by severe dizziness and extreme
      debility, leaving child to die – not liable for infanticide
     (People v. Bandian, 63 Phil 530)

   ABSOLUTORY CAUSES – where the act committed is a crime but
   for some reason of public policy and sentiment, there is no
   penalty imposed. Exempting
   and justifying circumstances are absolutory causes.

   Examples of such other circumstances are:
   1. spontaneous desistance (Art. 6)
   2. accessories exempt from criminal liability (Art. 20)
   3. Death or physical injuries inflicted under exceptional
      circumstances (Art. 247)
   4. persons exempt from criminal liability from theft, swindling,
      malicious mischief (Art 332)
   5. instigation

   NOTE: Entrapment is NOT an absolutory cause. A buy-bust
   operation conducted in connection with
   illegal drug-related offenses is a form of entrapment.

Entrapment from Instigation
1. The ways and means are resorted to for the purpose of trapping
   and capturing the lawbreaker in the execution of his
   criminal plan. while The Instigator practically induces the
   would-be accused into the commission of the offense and
   himself becomes a co-principal
2. In Entrapment, not a bar to accused prosecution and conviction
   while in Instigation, Accused will be acquitted.
3. Entrapment is not an absolutoty cause while Instigation is an
   absolutory cause.


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