What Is the Difference Between Legal Guilt and Factual Guilt?

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Legal guilt occurs when an offense is done to society as a whole, resulting in a guilty verdict, and factual guilt is wrongdoing committed against an individual, which may not be enough to warrant punishment, according to Encyclopedia.com. Factual guilt is also known as moral guilt.

Encyclopedia.com mentions that factual guilt leaves out institutional judgments in the form of a jury. In cases of moral guilt, the victim has the power to issue judgment in the form of forgiving or not forgiving the transgressor. Guilt and remorse are emotions that come into play when speaking of factual guilt.

Legal guilt stems from the act of actually committing the crime, according to Enyclopedia.com. Thinking of committing a crime doesn't fall under the definition of legal guilt. The defendant must also consciously know that the act of breaking the law is a punishable offense. Legal guilt requires some form of restitution to the community.