What Causes Criminal Behavior? A Discussion About Motivation

Criminal activity takes many forms, says Broward County criminal lawyer William Moore. It therefore is motivated by a number of factors. In his experience, Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney says that the variety of motivating factors is broad and notes, of course, that not all people accused of a crime are guilty — the presumption of innocence is a vital component of the American justice system.
One issue is simply ignorance or even a mistake. Ignorance of the law is, unfortunately for clueless criminals, never a defense to violating the law. The type of crime that could occur involving lack of awareness of the law could be white collar, such as tax errors. Undersized lobster fishing is an ongoing hot button issue among fish and wildlife groups in Florida. Fishing an undersized lobster (one not large enough to reproduce) is a criminal violation in this state, says Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer Moore. Therefore, if a law enforcement officer stops a fishing boat and measures the lobsters caught by the revelers or fisherman on board, anyone who caught a too-small lobster may be charged with a misdemeanor — even out-of-staters from landlocked areas in which undersized lobster fishing is not an issue who are unaware of the Florida law.
The desire to have something is another motivator. For example, a woman who spies a pair of pretty but expensive earrings cannot afford them. She has recently been laid off and is under a lot of stress due to her precarious financial situation. She wants the earrings, so she quickly stashes them in her bag when the sales clerk is facing the other way, attending to a different customer.
Anger is a third motivating factor, often behind violent crimes such as domestic battery or simple assault and battery, says Broward criminal defense attorney Moore. A man who is angry with his wife, over his job, at his disciplinary problems with his child, and/or other factors may lash out and hit someone, especially if he is under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse is another factor that motivates many people to commit crimes, frequently from the defendant’s urgent need to fund the addiction. Unfortunately, this type of behavior can lead to theft, even from family members, all the way to armed robbery and burglary.


Broward Criminal Lawyer William Moore has many years of experience in all aspects of criminal defense work, including sex crimes and DUI. A felony or misdemeanor arrest or conviction will have consequences on your life.