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What Makes an Act Wrong?

Broward criminal lawyer William Moore is well-versed in the criminal statutes of the state of Florida. The criminal codes of the United States and of all 50 states have many similarities and some definable differences between them. The legislatures of the states have elected to punish some crimes quite differently, more or less severely, in certain states. That means that how bad or how wrong a crime is depends on the opinion of the state legislators and the citizens of that state. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Moore believes that some crimes carry unreasonably harsh penalties.

Criminal defense lawyers talk about criminal punishment and the severity of crimes using two Latin terms: malum in se and malum prohibitum. Malum in se means that a crime is inherently wrong or even evil. For example, most people around the world believe that murdering another human being is automatically wrong. Likewise, stealing and sex crimes are generally regarded as universally wrong.

In contrast to those crimes are the malum prohibitum crimes. These acts are criminal because laws have been enacted, generally for the greater good, to forbid them. They are sometimes called public welfare crimes. For instance, tax evasion is a crime. However, failing to pay taxes does not hurt any particular person in the way that stealing money or killing someone would. Failure to pay taxes is just harmful to the general public welfare, because the government uses the funds for tasks like building roads for the good of everyone. Likewise, certain criminal driving offenses, such as driving without a license, are imposed for the good and safety of the public at large.

A philosophy closely related to malum prohibitum crimes is the concept of victimless crimes. Many people believe certain malum prohibitum crimes should be decriminalized because, according to proponents of this philosophy, their commission does not hurt individuals or the public welfare. Examples of these crimes include prostitution and many or all drug crimes. Proponents of the concept of victimless crimes believe that any ill effect suffered by people engaging in these crimes is agreeable to those individuals. A prostitute who suffers negative effects has done so by her own consent; similarly, drug users who suffer from health problems do not need to be protected from their own actions. People who disagree with decriminalization of these crimes cite the need to uphold the moral good of their communities. Additionally, they believe that these laws protect individuals from the excessively harmful effects of their actions. The argument for the legalization of marijuana is one of the most popularly accepted tenets of the victimless crimes philosophy.

According to Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer Moore, certain crimes have been eliminated over time as the public has agreed that there is no real victim or harm to society. For instance, sodomy laws and laws banning homosexuality are no longer the norm. The 2003 Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas determined that the state of Texas could not subject a man to criminal prosecution for engaging in an adult consensual sex act in private with another man.

Below is a video representing the legalization of marijuana viewpoint that was not made or endorsed by Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney William Moore:

Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore has experience in all kinds of criminal defense, including DUI and marijuana possession. A conviction for a felony or misdemeanor can have permanent consequences concerning your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., which is an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.

This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor as implied representation of any person.

Article contributed by Mallory Shipman, Esq.

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