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CRIMINAL LAW 101
MITRA, KARYLL ANN G.
POL111 – INTRODUCTION TO LAW
Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It
regulates social conduct and prescribes whatever is
threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the
property, health, safety, and moral welfare of people. It
includes the punishment of people who violate these
laws. Criminal law varies according to jurisdiction, and
differs from civil law, where emphasis is more on dispute
resolution and victim compensation than on punishment.
CHARACTERISTICS OF CRIMINAL LAW
1. GENERAL - the law is binding to all persons who reside in the Philippines
2. TERRITORIAL - the law is binding to all crimes committed within the
National Territory of the Philippines
Terrestrial – jurisdiction exercised over land
Fluvial – over maritime and interior waters
Aerial – over the atmosphere
3. PROSPECTIVE (Prospectivity) – the law does not have any retroactive
SOURCES OF CRIMINAL LAW
1. The Revised Penal Code
2. Special Penal Laws - Acts enacted of the Philippine
Legislature punishing offenses or omissions
BASIC MAXIMS IN CRIMINAL LAW
1. Doctrine of pro reo
2. Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege
3. Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea
AGAINST PERSON| AGAINST PROPERTIES
The term “crimes against the person” refers to a broad array of
criminal offenses which usually involve bodily harm, the threat of
bodily harm, or other actions committed against the will of an
individual. Those involving bodily harm (or the threat thereof)
include assault, battery, and domestic violence. Additionally,
offenses such as harassment, kidnapping, and stalking also are
considered crimes against the person.
Crimes against property are crimes of theft, where no
force or threat of force is directed against an
individual. It includes:
Crimes in which property is destroyed, and
Crimes in which property is stolen or taken against the owner’s
will. This consists of crimes such as: burglary, larceny , robbery,
extortion, motor vehicle theft, etc.
BASIC ELEMENTS OF
ACTUS REUS| MENS REA | CONCURRENCE| CAUSATION| RESULTING
INJURY OR CRIME
ACTUS REUS, PHYSICAL ACT OF THE CRIME
A guilty act that is conscious and voluntary.
“Are we going to hold somebody criminally liable for an act that is not
volitional and not voluntary?”
NO, WE’RE NOT.
ACTUS REUS, PHYSICAL ACT OF THE CRIME
Someone who is driving a car suddenly had a heart attack and they
hit somebody along the sidewalk. Are they going to be guilty of hitting
A person who has a sleep walking disorder commits murder. Are they
going to be found guilty of the crime?
OMISSIONS TO ACT
No duty to action on behalf of a stranger in peril.
1. BY LAW
Sometimes, there are duties to act that are prescribed by law.
You have a duty to automatically pay your taxes. If you don’t, you
could be held liable for tax evasion.
OMISSIONS TO ACT
2. BY CONTRACT
When you are contracted by duty to come to the aid of another.
A lifeguard in a pool is being paid to rescue and save people. But then
the lifeguard was just sitting there flirting with a cute girl whilst someone
If the victim then drowns, we can hold the lifeguard guilty of involuntary
manslaughter for his failure to fulfill his contract.
OMISSIONS TO ACT
3. BY RELATIONSHIP
Relationships may also impose a duty to act.
Husband and wife have the duty to come to the aid of each other.
Parents and child have the duty to come to the aid of each other.
MENS REA, MENTAL INTENT TO DO THE CRIME
A guilty mind.
The defendant knew that what he was doing was wrong.
WHERE TO FIND MENS REA?
1. Specific Intent Crimes
2. General Intent Crimes
3. Strict Liability Crimes
MENS REA, SPECIFIC INTENT CRIMES
The defendant must have specific intent to commit the crime.
Mentally, he has to mean for that crime to occur.
1. Solicitation, Attempt, Conspiracy
2. Theft Crimes
3. Intent to Kill
4. Heat of Passion Killings
MENS REA, GENERAL INTENT CRIMES
No specific intent needed to commit a crime.
Intent can be inferred from defendant’s conduct.
5. Depraved Heart Murder
MENS REA, STRICT LIABILITY CRIMES
Crimes where the defendant’s state of mind is immaterial.
Defendant’s conviction will rest solely on the fact that he/she has
committed the prohibited act.
2. Parking in front of a fire hydrant
3. Statutory rape
CONCURRENCE, OF ACTUS REUS AND MENS REA
Defendant must both have a guilty act and guilty mind at the time he
committed the crime.
You only need to go to causation when there’s a third party that’s involved
or an act of God.
“Is the defendant the legal or the proximate cause of the resulting crime or
FELONIES | MISDEMEANORS | MALUM IN SE CRIMES | MALUM
PROHIBITUM | INFAMOUS CRIMES
Crimes that are generally punishable by death, or imprisonment
exceeding one year.
A felony that's punishable by death is considered a capital crime.
Offenses lower than felonies, and generally punishable by less than
a year in jail, or a fine.
Petty Offense, i.e. jaywalking
Possession of Marijuana
Whether a crime is considered a felony or a
misdemeanor will many times depend on any
aggravating factors. These are factors that make a
crime more serious. For example, the theft of a very
inexpensive item from a store may be considered a
misdemeanor. However, the theft of multiple items that
are worth thousands of dollars may be considered a
MALUM IN SE, EVIL IN ITSELF
A crime that is wrong in itself.
An act involving illegality from the nature of its transaction.
MALUM PROHIBITUM, WRONG BECAUSE PROHIBITED
An act that is not inherently immoral, but is expressly forbidden by
Crimes that are created by Legislative Statutes.
Selling liquor/cigarettes to a minor
Running a stop sign
MALA IN SE VS MALA PROHIBITA
Crime that is shameful, or disgraceful.
Usually involves fraud or dishonesty.
Mail and Securities Fraud
CLASSICAL THEORY | POSITIVIST THEORY | ECLECTIC OR MIXED
CLASSICAL THEORY, JURISTIC
Man is essentially a moral creature with an absolute free will to
choose between good and evil and therefore more stress is placed
upon the result of the felonious act than upon the criminal himself.
The purpose of penalty is retribution.
Man is regarded as a moral creature who understands right from
wrong. So that when he commits a wrong, he must be prepared to
accept the punishment therefore.
POSITIVIST THEORY, POSITIVIST
Man is subdued occasionally by a strange and morbid
phenomenon which conditions him to do wrong in spite of or
contrary to his volition.
The purpose of penalty is reformation.
There is great respect for the human element because the offender
is regarded as socially sick who needs treatment, not punishment.
Crimes are regarded as social phenomena which constrain a
person to do wrong although not of his own volition
ECLECTIC OR MIXED PHILO, GROTIANS
This combines both positivist and classical thinking. Crimes that are
economic and social and nature should be dealt with in a
positivist manner; thus, the law is more compassionate. Heinous
crimes should be dealt with in a classical manner; thus, capital
STAGES IN THE COMMISSION
OF THE CRIME
INTENTION TO COMMIT THE CRIME| PREPARATION TO COMMIT CRIME
| ATTEMPT TO COMMMIT THE CRIME | COMMISSION OF THE CRIME
INTENTION TO COMMIT THE CRIME
Guilty mind to commit the crime. Intention to commit a crime is not
punishable unless it is made known to others either by words.
PREPARATION TO COMMIT THE CRIME
Arranging for the means and measures necessary for the
commission of the crime. Preparation is not normally
punishable. However, there are some exceptions:
o Waging war against government
o Preparation for counterfeiting coins and government stamps, etc.
EXAMPLE OF PREPARATION
‘A’ intends to kill ‘B’.’A’ purchases poison in order to mix with B’s
food. Up to this stage, A’s act is mere preparation.
EXAMPLE OF AN ATTEMPT
‘A’, a pick pocket puts his hand in B’s pocket to steal the purse of ‘B’
but ‘A’ does not find any purse in B’s pocket. Is it a crime?
Yes, it is a crime of attempt to theft.
ATTEMPT TO COMMIT THE CRIME
Attempt is the direct movement towards the commission of an offense
after the preparation has been made. Attempt is those acts, which
cross the stage of being preparatory to the commission of an offense.
COMMISSION OF THE CRIME
If the attempt to commit the offense is successful, then the crime is
‘A ‘fired at ‘B’ with the evil motive to kill ‘B’ and B died immediately. This is the
crime of murder. This stage is the commission of the crime.
RECLUSION PERPETUA| RECLUSION TEMPORAL| PRISIÓN MAYOR |
PRISIÓN CORRECCIONAL | ARRESTO MAYOR | ARRESTO MENOR
PARTICIPATION OF THE
PRINCIPALS| ACCOMPLICES| ACCESSORIES
A persons can be liable as a principal for:
taking a direct part in the execution of the felony,
directly forcing or inducing others to commit it, or
cooperate in the commission of the offense by another act
without which it would not have been accomplished.
Accomplices are persons who, while not acting as a principal, cooperate in
the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts.
Accessories are those who, having knowledge of the commission of the
crime, and without having participated therein, either as principals or
accomplices, take part subsequent to its commission by:
profiting themselves or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the crime,
concealing or destroying the body of the crime, or the effects or instruments
thereof, in order to prevent its discovery, or
harboring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principals of the crime.