Two-Minute MBE Question: Criminal Law
Here, we discuss how to approach the following Criminal Law MBE question in two minutes. Read the question below then check out the YouTube video below for an answer explanation in less than two minutes!
Criminal Law Question:
It is a rainy day. A man just finished purchasing items at a grocery shop and he sees a glass container of umbrellas for “$10 per umbrella” near the door. Even though the sign is clear, the man unreasonably believes that the umbrellas are free. The man grabs an umbrella. He doesn’t quite reach the door to go outside when the cashier says, “Excuse me, you have to pay for that.” The man apologizes, says he was mistaken, and puts the umbrella back.
Is the man guilty of larceny?
(A) Yes, because the man’s belief was unreasonable.
(B) Yes, because the man had the specific intent to leave the store.
(C) No, because the man never left the store.
(D) No, because the man did not have the specific intent to take the umbrella.
Criminal Law Video Answer Explanation:
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You can find the answer to the MBE question in the video above or the text below. Just click “SHOW ANSWER”
(D) is the correct answer. Larceny is defined as the trespassory taking and carrying away of personal property of another with the intent to permanently deprive him thereof. Here, the man did not specifically intend to permanently deprive the store of the umbrella because he thought the umbrellas were free. It does not matter if his belief was unreasonable. A reasonable mistake of fact or an unreasonable mistake of fact can be a defense to a specific intent crime if it negates the specific intent.
(A) is incorrect because if a defendant is being charged with a specific intent crime, a reasonable or unreasonable mistake of fact will serve as a defense.
(B) is incorrect because it is not the intent to leave the store that matters; it is the intent to permanently deprive the store of its property that matters.
(C) is incorrect because it is irrelevant. The man does not have to leave the store to commit larceny. If he did have the specific intent to steal the umbrella, he would technically be guilty the second he picked up the umbrella to carry it away.
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