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Transferred-Intent Doctrine

Definition

In tort law, the principle that if an actor intends to commit an intentional tort against one person but winds up committing (1) a different intentional tort against the same person, (2) the same intentional tort against a different person, or (3) a different intentional tort against a different person, the actor's initial intent will transfer to the tort the actor actually committed or the person the actor actually harmed. In criminal law, the transferred-intent doctrine imposes criminal liability on a defendant who intends to harm one person but actually harms an unintended victim. Unlike in tort law, a criminal defendant's intent transfers only to alternative victims of the intended crime.

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