Willfully Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Willfully, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Willfully?

(adj) An act or specifically a crime done intentially with a motive, knowing the consequences of such action is considered as an act done willfully. So to make it a willfully done act it must have done with an intention to achieve the events or crime ought to happen. So if a dog was injured when a paper weight was slipped form someone’s hand cannot be treated as an act done willfully to injure the dog.

History and Meaning of Willfully

The term "willfully" is often used in legal contexts to refer to the intentional commission of a crime or wrongdoing. In order for an act to be considered willful, the perpetrator must have had knowledge of the consequences of their actions and acted with a specific intent to achieve a certain outcome. This term has a long history in the American legal system and is often used in criminal trials to differentiate between actions that were committed intentionally versus those that were accidental.

Examples of Willfully

  1. A driver who knowingly runs a red light in order to beat traffic is acting willfully.
  2. A person who intentionally sets fire to a building in order to collect insurance money is committing a willful act of arson.
  3. If someone intentionally lies on their tax return in order to avoid paying taxes, that would be considered a willful act of tax evasion.
  4. In cases of assault, if it can be proven that the perpetrator acted with intent to cause harm, the act would be considered willful.
  5. If a company purposefully pollutes a river, that would be considered a willful act of environmental destruction.

Legal Terms Similar to Willfully

  1. Intentional: The term "intentional" is often used interchangeably with "willful" and refers to actions that were committed with a specific intention in mind.
  2. Malicious: This term refers to actions that were committed with the intent to harm or cause damage to someone or something.
  3. Reckless: Unlike willful acts, reckless acts are committed without any specific intent to cause harm, but still pose a significant risk of harm to others.