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Justification can be a defense in a prosecution for a criminal offense. When an act is justified, a person is not criminally liable even though his act would otherwise constitute an offense.

Justification in jurisprudence is not the same as an excuse. A justification sets forth an exception to the prohibition of committing certain offenses. For example, to intentionally commit a homicide would be considered murder. However, it is not considered a crime if committed in self-defense. In contrast, an excuse (legal) is a defense that recognizes a crime was committed, but that for the defendant, although committing a socially undesirable crime, conviction and punishment would be morally inappropriate because of an extenuating personal inadequacy, such as mental defect, lack of mental capacity, sufficient age, intense fear of death, lacking the ability to control their own conduct, etc.[1]


  1. ^ Richard M., Bonnie; Anne M. Coughlin, John C. Jefferies, Jr. & Peter W. Low (1997). Criminal Law. Westbury, NY: The Foundation Press. pp. 324. ISBN 1-56662-448-7.  


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