Logic Behind Determining Whether a Crime Has Specific Intent or General Intent
In Gentry v. State, this Court stated:
We have previously determined that despite the broad language of our attempt statute, there are certain crimes of which it can be said that the attempt thereof simply does not exist as an offense. Adams; State v. Thomas, 362 So. 2d 1348 (Fla. 1978). See also King v. State, 317 So. 2d 852 (Fla. 1st DCA 1975).
The court now holds that there are offenses that may be successfully prosecuted as an attempt without proof of a specific intent to commit the relevant completed offense.
The key to recognizing these crimes is to first determine whether the completed offense is a crime requiring specific intent or general intent.
If the state is not required to show specific intent to successfully prosecute the completed crime, it will not be required to show specific intent to successfully prosecute an attempt to commit that crime.
We believe there is logic in this approach and that it comports with legislative intent. Second-degree and third-degree murder under our statutes are crimes requiring only general intent.
"A specific intent, when an element of the mens rea of a particular offense, is some intent other than to do the actus reus thereof which is specifically required for guilt." Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 851 (3d ed. 1982).
In contrast, "general intent" would simply be the intent required to do the actus reus of a particular offense. See id.