Motive in Criminal Law – Motive Definition in Criminal Law


Doubt as to the identity of the Wrongdoer – Motive Law gains importance only when the identity of the assailant is in doubt. As held in a long line of cases, the prosecution does not need to prove the motive in Criminal Law of the accused when the latter has been identified as the author of the crime.  The defendant was absolutely known by witnesses.

Motive law
Motive Law

Example of Motive in Criminal Law

Thus, the prosecution didn’t have to identify and prove the motive for the killing. It’s a matter of judicial knowledge that persons have been killed for no apparent reason at all and that friendship or even relationship is no deterrent to the commission of a crime. The lack or absence of a motive definition for committing the crime doesn’t preclude conviction where there are reliable witnesses who fully and satisfactorily identified the petitioner as the perpetrator of the felony (Kummer vs. People, GR No. 174461, September 11, 2013.

Circumstantial or inconclusive evidence: 

Indeed, Motive in criminal law becomes material when the Proof is circumstantial or inconclusive, and there’s some doubt on whether a crime has been committed or whether the accused has committed it. 

The following circumstantial evidence is sufficient to convict the accused: 

  • Accused had the motive to kill the deceased because during the altercation the latter slapped and hit him with a bamboo, prompting Romulo to induce mad at the deceased; 
  • The accused was chased by the deceased eastward after the slapping and hit incident; 
  • Said accused was the last person seen with the deceased Simply before he died; 
  • Accused and Antonio Trinidad give to police authorities with the samurai; 
  • Some of the wounds inflicted on the deceased were caused by a bolo or a knife. (Trinidad vs. People, GR No. 192241, June 13, 2012).


In People vs. Lamahang, G.R. No. 43530, Aug 3, 1935, En Banc – Accused who was caught In the act of making an opening with an iron bar on the wall of a store was held guilty of tried intrusive and not tried theft. The act of making an opening on the wall of the stop is an overt act of trespassing since it reveals an evident intention to enter by means of the force of said store against the will of it is the owner. 

However, it’s not an overt act of robbery since the intention of the accused once he succeeded in entering the store isn’t determinate; it’s subject to different interpretations. His final objective could be to rob, cause physical injury to it is occupants, or commit any other offense. In sum, the crime he intended to commit inside the store is indeterminate, and thus, an attempt to commit it isn’t punishable as an attempted felony

In Cruz vs. People, G.R. No. 166441, Oct 08, 2014 – The petitioner climbed on top of the naked victim and was already touching her genitalia with his hands and mashing her breasts when she freed herself from his clutches and effectively ended his designs on her. Yet, inferring from such circumstances that ra-pe, and no other, was his intended felony would be Extremely unwarranted. 

What is motive?

Motive Law gains importance only when the identity of the assailant is in doubt. As held in a long line of cases.