zworykin wrote:ClubberLang wrote:icecold3000 wrote:Both specific and general intent will have different meanings depending on the context.
In the first context both terms denote an elemental mental state. Specific intent meaning an act done with desire or for the purpose of causing social harm. And general intent meaning an act done with awareness that social harm is practically certain to result from the conduct.
In the second unrelated context, "specific and general intent" describes different categories of crimes. This distinction is irrelevant under the MPC, but is very important at common law. If a crime is a specific intent, the defendant can present defenses that are otherwise unavailable. The main difference under between the terms under this context is that specific intent crimes requires a mental state beyond the conduct: like "breaking and entering with intent (read specific intent) to commit a felony". The general intent crime would just be "breaking and entering."
Hope this helps. Buy Dressler.
Why is the distinction irrelevant under the MPC? The MPC has specific intent crimes- see attempts.
The MPC just doesn't bother drawing a distinction between the two categories--or rather, it disposes of the idea of categorizing altogether. Every crime (/element thereof) requires a specific mens rea--whether you would categorize the crime as specific or general intent under another system really doesn't matter. It requires intent, or knowledge, or recklessness, or negligence, and that's that. (Yeah, yeah, strict liability, whatever)
At common law the distinction between specific intent and general intent crimes matters a lot because certain defenses will or will not be available. Under the MPC, the defenses will not change. In addition to what zworkin said, that is why the distinction is irrelevant.