Malum prohibitum

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(Redirected from Mala prohibita)

Malum prohibitum (plural mala prohibita, literal translation: "wrong because prohibited") is a Latin phrase used in law to refer to crimes made so by statute, as opposed to crimes based on English common law and obvious violations of society's standards which are defined as malum in se. An offense that is malum prohibitum, for example, may not appear on the face to directly violate moral standards: an example is the law against insider trading, where the simple act of sharing information is clearly not wrong in itself, but only because of its context in a larger framework of regulated trading. Parking violations, speeding, driving or fishing without a license, and voyeurism also fall in this category. There is a controversy whether copyright infringement is malum prohibitum or malum in se.

The distinction between these two cases is discussed in Washington v. Anderson [1] (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=wa&vol=678260di1&searchval&invol=1):

"Criminal offenses can be broken down into two general categories -- malum in se and malum prohibitum. The distinction between malum in se and malum prohibitum offenses is best characterized as follows: a malum in se offense is "naturally evil as adjudged by the sense of a civilized community," whereas a malum prohibitum offense is wrong only because a statute makes it so. State v. Horton, 139 N.C. 588, 51 S.E. 945, 946 (1905) ... "Public welfare offenses" are a subset of malum prohibitum offenses as they are typically regulatory in nature and often "'result in no direct or immediate injury to person or property but merely create the danger or probability of it which the law seeks to minimize.' "

List of crimes commonly considered malum prohibitum

See also

Template:Law-stub

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