What is the legal definition of mala prohibita?
How do you legally define it?
What are some examples?
In this article, we will break down the legal definition of Mala Prohibita so you know all there is to know about it!
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Table of Contents
Mala Prohibita Meaning
What is mala prohibita?
The phrase Mala Prohibita, in Latin, means “wrong because it is prohibited”.
In American criminal law, you have two types of crimes:
- Mala prohibita
- Mala in se
When the law or statute declares a certain act or behavior to be wrong even though the behavior, in itself, may not be considered as wrong, you are dealing with a mala prohibita offenses.
For example, if you are driving 10 or 20 miles above the speeding limit, the act is not morally wrong or evil in itself but is prohibited as the law declared it to be a punishable offense.
Typically, mala prohibita acts do not violate morally accepted standards, are not evil or unconscionable but are wrong on the basis of the legal prohibition.
This can be contrasted with Mala In Se acts where such acts are wrong as they are evil or wrong if of themselves.
For example, murder is a mala in se act as the act, in itself, is morally wrong or so clearly in violation of proper societal standards.
In essence, a mala prohibita crime is a victimless type of crime whereas mala in se crimes are crimes against the society where there is a victim
Mala Prohibita Definition
How do you define mala prohibita?
Mala Prohibita is Latin for “wrong because it is prohibited”.
The plural of Mala Prohibita is Mala Prohibitum.
When an act or conduct is declared illegal by law (although not necessarily immortal in of itself), you have an act that is wrong because it is prohibited by law.
Mala Prohibita Crimes
What are some examples of mala prohibita crimes?
There are many criminal acts or torts that can be qualified as malum prohibitum as they are wrong because in virtue of the law or statute prohibiting them or declaring them to be punishable in some form or fashion.
Here are some examples to illustrate the point:
- Copyright infringement
- Illegal hunting
- Doing business without a license
- Driving a car without a license
- Indecent exposure
- Parking violations
- Resisting arrest
- Use of drugs
Mala prohibitum sentence
How important is it to classify a particular crime as a mala prohibita?
Typically, the classification of a crime as an act prohibited by law or an act morally wrong is not that relevant when it comes to punishment or sentencing.
What’s important is to consider what type of punishment the law has mandated for the courts to issue when someone commits an act that is a mala prohibita crime.
So what is the legal meaning of Mala prohibita crimes?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
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