Transferred Intent

JailAs a general rule, the doctrine of transferred intent (and I’m speaking in the context of the criminal law here) only holds for cases of like kind.

Transferred intent means that if you intentionally perpetrate, say, a violent crime, but the victim is a person other than the one you intended to victimize, you’re still held just ask criminally liable as if you had succeeded in your original intentions. For example, if A tries to punch B in the face, but somehow instead manages to punch C in the face, A is just as guilty of assault and battery as he would have been if he’d succeeded in his original intention.

However, if A misses B and instead smashes C’s expensive vase, the doctrine of transferred intent probably won’t apply, and A will probably not be found guilty of the malicious destruction of C’s property. Instead, a civil suit may be in order. :)