Motive vs. Intent

1. Distinguish intent from motive in Criminal Law.
2. May crimes be committed without criminal intent?

1. Motive is the moving power which impels one to action for a definite result; whereas intent is the purpose to use a particular means to effect such results. Motive is not an essential element of a felony and need not be proved for purpose of conviction, while intent is an essential element of felonies by dolo.

2. Yes, a crime may be committed without criminal intent is such is a culpable felony, wherein intent is substituted by negligence or imprudence, and also in a malum prohibitum or if an act is punishable by special law.


1999 Bar Exam Question

1. Distinguish "motive" from "intent".
2. When is motive relevant to prove a case? When is it not necessary to be established? Explain.

1. "Motive" is the moving power which impels a person to do an act for a definite result; while "intent" is the purpose for using a particular means to bring about a desired  result. Motive is not an element of a crime but intent is an element of intentional crimes. Motive, if attending a crime, always precede the intent.

2. Motive is relevant to prove a case when there is doubt as to the identity of the  offender or when the act committed gives rise to variant crimes and there is the need to determine the proper crime to be imputed to the offender.

It is not necessary to prove motive when the offender is positively identified or the criminal act did not give rise to variant crimes.


2004 Bar Exam Question

Distinguish clearly but briefly between intent and motive in the commission of an offense.

Intent is the purpose for using a particular means to achieve the desired result; while motive is the moving power which impels a person to act for a definite result. Intent is an ingredient of dolo or malice and thus an element of deliberate felonies; while motive is not an element of a crime but only considered when the identity of the offender is in doubt.


2006 Bar Exam Question

Motive is essential in the determination of the commission of a crime and the liabilities
of the perpetrators. What are the instances where proof of motive is not essential or
required to justify conviction of an accused? Give at least 3 instances.

Suggested Answer:

1. When there is an eyewitness or positive identification of the accused.
2. When the accused admitted or confessed to the commission of the crime.
3. In Crimes Mala Prohibita
4. In direct assault, when the victim, who is a person in authority or agent of a person in authority was attacked in the actual performance of his duty (Art.148, Revised Penal Code).
5. In crimes committed through reckless imprudence.

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