Dressler, p. 129-130: Social Harm


The thing that distinguishes crimes from torts is social harm.  This harm is clear when someone commits a result crime.


What about conduct crimes?  They involve social harm, in a sense.  They may involve the negation of a social interest.


Some result and conduct crimes may actually overlap.  Also, some crimes require a certain condition (which is not conduct) in order for the crime to be committed.


Notes and Questions


1.     How about…you must be driving an automobile as opposed to some other vehicle.  The “car as opposed to tricycle” part is not really conduct, it’s really an attendant circumstance.

2.     I think this statute’s conduct is basically any action at all.  The result must be the death of someone.  The attendant circumstances would be the presence of “purposefulness”, “knowledge”, “recklessness” or “negligence”.  With burglary, the conduct is breaking and entering.  I don’t think any particular result is set in stone, except perhaps something in or around the house must be broken, like a lock or a window (but maybe not).  The attendant circumstances are the fact that the building entered is “a dwelling house”, the fact that it belongs to “another” (i.e. you can’t burgle yourself), the fact that it’s nighttime, and the fact that you intend to commit a felony.


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