what constitutes intent in the statement "with intent to defraud". is a jury instructed or can it be instructed to determine if the intent element exists? how is intent determined and what are the standards of that determination? for example: can it be said that a person intends to do something because he's alive and/or awake?
When the law requires "specific intent" it means the person did that which they intended. Sometimes the law allows reckless behavior to replace the required specific intent. Your question seems to ask what does "with intent to defraud" mean. It means that when the accused person acted, they intend to cheat the victim. Knowingly giving someone a bad check when there is no money in the account is an intent to defraud. Promising to give something you don't have in exchange for something the victim has is fraud. General intent means you are alive and awake and did something that resulted in a injury of some type. Throwing rocks at a crowd, even though you didn't mean to hit anyone, is still the general intent crime of battery.
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state and even county by county. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws, local rules and the area of practice in which your concern lies. Each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Specific intent means that in addition to intending to do the thing that was done, the actor had a specific state of mind while doing that thing. In your example, that state of mind is the "intent to defraud," which basically means intent to rip someone off. So, in order to obtain a conviction at a jury trial, the prosecutor must prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt, not only that the defendant committed an act, but also that while the defendant was doing that action, s/he intended to defraud someone. Intent is proven with circumstantial evidence, unless the defendant admits what his/her intent was. All the evidence presented at trial is evaluated by the jury to determine whether the intent element of the crime has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
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