Now, while most words that I am finding myself stumble on have completely different legal meanings than I have grown accustomed to knowing (apprehension, am I right Holly?), others are similar but used more extensively and are weighted differently. Let's look at the word intent. Merriam Webster's Dictionary defines intent as:
Black's Law Dictionary (seriously one of my smartest purchases to date, especially when it was for a book that wasn't a requirement) has a much larger definition for intent. This is because it does not JUST define this small word, but also defines the word in different settings. For example, intent is defined as:
1. In criminal law and the law of evidence. Purpose; formulated design ; a resolve to do or forbear a particular act; aim; determination. In its literal sense, the stretching of the mind or will towards a particular object. . “Intent” expresses mental action at its most advanced point, or as it actually accompanies an outward, corporal act which has been determined on- Intent shows the presence of will in the act which consummates a crime. It is ‘the exercise of intelligent will, the mind being fully aware of the nature and consequences of the act which is about (o be done, and with such knowledge, and with full liberty of action, willing and electing to do it. Burrill, Circ. Ev. 284. and notes."
Black's goes on to define specific intent, transferred intent, letter of intent, larcenous intent, and a whole plethora of different uses for the word.
Now while some of you are sitting there saying to yourself, "Hey dummy! The definition is quite similar in both books," let me assure you that the word intent has completely changed its meaning/importance in my vocabulary. I used to look at intent as simply my goal at the given time. I now look at intent as what my goal was at the time, what my goal wasn't at the time, and how my purpose drove me to respond to certain situations in a certain way. I looked at intent as simply a thought rather than that thought being an action.