Concepts of Criminal Law

This defense justifies an act that may be a crime but is done to prevent a greater evil. “the choice of evil’s defense consists of proving that the defendant made the right choice, the only choice—namely, the necessity of choosing now to do a lesser evil to avoid a greater evil” (Samaha, 2014).

The Model Penal Code contains the elements in three steps: 1) Identify the evils. 2) Rank the evils that are present. 3) Choose the evil that would be the best and that something is going to happen immediately. The choice of evil’s defense says it is better to commit a lesser crime to avoid the harm a greater crime would cause. An example of this would be if your neighbors’ car was burning in a parking lot and you saw it was on fire and sitting next to the neighbors’ car was a car that had three children in it.

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No one was in your neighbor’s car so no one was in harms’ way but there was no adult in the car with the kids. In order to protect the kids, you went over and jumped in the car and moved the car further away from the fire. The mother came out and saw that her car was not in the spot she parked it and called the police. The police charged you with stealing the vehicle and kidnapping of the three kids. At trial you presented the choice of evil defense stating that you had to move the car with the children in it to prevent them from burning up in the fire caused by the neighbor’s car.

If you wouldn’t have moved the car to a safe place, the children would have been seriously injured or killed. In this scenario the judge should allow the defense of the choice of evil because if he wouldn’t have moved the car when he did, the kids would have been severely hurt or killed immediately. He didn’t have time to go try to find the mother of the kids so she could move the car herself. Reference Samaha, (2014). Criminal law (11th ed. ) Cengage Learning