What Are Malum Prohibitum Crimes?

Have you been caught beating the traffic or speeding? Well, these might get you a ticket. But law enforcement agents cannot see you as an evildoer for speeding or beating the traffic. But why? Because you have just committed offenses that fall in the Malum prohibitum crimes category.

Malum Prohibitum Crimes

Malum Prohibitum 

The term malum prohibitum is a Latin phrase that translates to mean wrong because of prohibition. They are illegal because the law or statute says so. They are not inherently wrong in themselves like malum in se. 

Depending on certain factors like period and location, malum prohibitum crimes can vary. 

What is a crime in one city or state can be ok in another state. For instance, in some places, gambling may be a crime, but not allowed in other locations.

Some key characteristics are:

  • Created by law: Statutes enacted by state or municipal legislatures specify certain offenses.
  • Focus on public safety or order: They aim to advance social order, health, and public safety. For example, speed limitations contribute to road safety.
  • Varying moral implications: The moral wrongness of a crime may not always reflect in its severity. For example, possession of illegal drugs is more morally troubling than a minor traffic infraction.

Below are some examples of malum prohibitum crimes

  • Tax evasion
  • Licensing violation
  • Traffic violations (speeding, running a red light)
  • Possession of small amounts of illegal drugs (depending on the jurisdiction)
  • Public intoxication
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Prostitution (in some areas)
  • Gambling (in some areas)
  • Underage drinking

These offenses are lighter and not inherently wrong. But they may carry stiff penalties if caught. Your license can be suspended or revoked. You can pay fines in some cases. It may lead to a jail term in some circumstances. 

The best course of action in a malum prohibitum case is to consult with an expert attorney. An experienced lawyer will stand by your rights and understand available options. For example, many sexual offense solicitors in London can offer professional legal help.

The Role of Intent 

In any court case, even those with malum prohibitum cases, intent is crucial. Let’s review the part intent plays in offenses classified as malum prohibitum:

  • Considering the mental condition of the offender during the act. Called criminal intent, also known as mens rea.
  • For offenses classified as malum prohibitum, It’s not always required to have proof of intent to convict.
  • Certain offenses that come under the category of malum prohibitum are subject to strict liability, meaning convictions can occur without the necessity for proof of intent.
  • The outcome of malum prohibitum cases might be affected by some elements, such as error or carelessness.

In summary

Offenses that are wrong crimes because they go against the law fall under malum prohibitum. They can be such offenses as speeding, tax evasion, gambling, disorderly conduct, and licensing violations. They can also include underage drinking and possession of small amounts of illegal drugs. 

These offenses are not too bad to get you in severe trouble. Even so, there are consequences you might face if caught. For instance, it might be revocation or suspension of license, fines, or even jail term. 

Do not try to handle it yourself if you are facing any of these malum prohibitum cases. Call an expert lawyer who will defend your rights and seek available options.