Can I get in trouble if someone borrowed my knife to commit a crime and I didn’t know about it?

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Can I get in trouble if someone borrowed my knife to commit a crime and I didn’t know about it?

My roommates girlfriend asked me one night if she could borrow my knife for something. I didn’t think anything about it and said sure. My ex which was friends with my roommates girlfriend texted me a couple of days later and told me that her tires were slashed and she knew who did it. That night I asked my roommate if he knew anything about it and he told me that his girlfriend used my knife to slit her tires. So I texted my ex back and said that I heard that she used my knife to slash your tires. Then my ex told me that she was turning our texts into the police since she now had concrete evidence that my roommates girlfriend did it. Is there anyway I could get in trouble because it was my knife? even if I had no idea that’s what she was going to use it for?

Asked on August 6, 2016 under Criminal Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you are not liable for what someone does with property which you loaned them innocently, since you lacked criminal intent or "mens rea." (To commit a crime, you need wrongful intent as well as a wrongful act; for example, if I pick up your briefcase because it looks like mine and I thought it belonged to me, that is not a crime--but if I took it knowing it was yours and intending to take your property, that is a criminal act.) You would only face criminal liability if there was some reason to believe that you knew or at least had a reasonable suspicion of what she would do with the life, and gave it to her to facilitate her vandalism. 


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