The intention is the basic element for making a person liable for the crime, which is commonly contrasted with motive. Though we often use the two terms interchangeably, these are different in the eyes of law. While intention means the purpose of doing something, motive determines the reason for committing an act.
The primary difference between intention and motive is that intention specifically indicates the mental state of the accused, i.e. what’s going on in his mind, at the time of the commission of a crime, whereas motive implies the motivation, i.e. what drives a person to do or refrain from doing something. Let’s take a look at the article given below, to understand more differences between the two.
Content: Intention Vs Motive
|Basis for Comparison||Intention||Motive|
|Meaning||Intention refers to a purposeful action and a conscious decision to perform an act, that is forbidden by law.||Motive alludes to the ulterior cause, that induces a person to do or abstain from doing a particular act.|
|What is it?||Objective||Driving force|
|Criminal liability||It is substantial to determine criminal liability.||It is insubstantial to determine criminal liability.|
Definition of Intention
In criminal law, the intention is defined as the deliberate objective that leads a person to commit a crime, forbidden by the law, or that may result in an unlawful outcome. The use of specific means that resulted in the commission of a crime expresses the intention of the suspect.
In finer terms, intention describes the will or plan of an individual. So, when an action is performed intentionally, it implies the willingness or aim of a person to do so and not an accident or mistake, where he/she is completely known about the consequences, of the act. That is why intention is the primary element to affix the culpability.
No matter whether the act is committed with a good intent or a bad one. If a person does something purposefully and consciously, which is prohibited by the law, it will amount to criminal liability.
Definition of Motive
Motive can be described as the underlying objective behind the commission of an act, that drives a person’s intent. In short, it is the inducement, i.e. the reason, which impels the accused to engage in criminal activity.
The motive behind a criminal offence is regarded as irrelevant, in ascertaining an individual’s guilt, because it only clarifies the accused reasons, for acting or refrained from acting in a specific manner. However, it is required for police investigation and other stages of the case.
Key Differences Between Intention and Motive
The points given below are substantial so far as the difference between intention and motive is concerned:
- In criminal law, the term intention is explained as the deliberate cause and known effort, to act in a particular manner which is not permitted by law. As against, the motive is defined as the implicit cause, which instigates a person to do or not to do something.
- The intention of a person can be determined by the use of particular means and the circumstances, that resulted in the criminal offence. Conversely, the motive is the reason, that drives a person to do an act or refrain from acting in a specific manner.
- While the intention is the expressly defined purpose of the crime, the motive is hidden or implied purpose.
- When the intention of a person, is the element for affixing criminal liability, it must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. On the contrary, the motive is not the primary element for affixing culpability, so it need not be proven.
While intention determines whether the accused committed the crime purposely or accidentally, motive answers the question, why the accused committed the crime. Simply put, motive impels intention, so, the latter arises out of the former.
In every criminal case, the intention of the defendant is foremost, because, the guilt or innocence can only be proved with it. On the other hand, motive does not play a significant role in determining the guilt or innocence.