mala prohibita

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Mala Prohibita

[Latin, Wrongs prohibited.] A term used to describe conduct that is prohibited by laws, although not inherently evil.

Courts commonly classify statutory crimes as mala prohibita. This, however, is not a fixed rule since not all statutory crimes are classified as such.

Examples of mala prohibita include public intoxication and carrying a concealed weapon.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

mala prohibita

see CRIME.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

MALA PROHIBITA. Those things which are prohibited by law, and therefore unlawful.
     2. A distinction was formerly made in respect of contracts, between mala prohibita and mala in se; but that distinction has been exploded, and, it is now established that when the provisions of an act of the legislature have for their object the protection of the public, it makes no difference with respect to contracts, whether the thing be prohibited absolutely or under a penalty. 5 B. & A 5, 340; 10 B. & C. 98; 3 Stark. 61; 13 Pick. 518; 2 Bing. N. C. 636, 646.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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In any event, I wish only to raise the possible concern about Smith's theory depending more generally upon how persuaded we are by the need to accommodate mala prohibita crimes, as it is at least unclear how they might fit.
Often mala prohibita crimes are understood as self-regarding and victimless.
So I will also attempt to show that a successful counter-argument promises to have wider significance for, at least, some other mala prohibita offenses.
As already indicated, unless my rejoinder to Husak's position on this one specific offense has application to other offenses, it will not pose a serious challenge to the claim that overcriminalization is largely the result of the proliferation of unjustifiable mala prohibita offenses, (10) or to the claim that the legitimate interest the state has in discouraging the conduct proscribed by many mala prohibita offenses fails to justify their criminalization.
It is of importance for his argument that it is an offense that satisfies two important desiderata: it does not involve conduct that is patently objectionable and it is representative of those mala prohibita offenses that are prosecuted.
"The bill will make the harmless act of carrying a gun in public places a criminal offense (mala prohibita) before such harmless act turns into a violent crime," the President was told.