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Basic Requirements of an Criminal Act.

Actus Reus

an illegal act; the act or failure to act or failure to act that constitutes the crime.

Constructive Intent

A principle of law that refers to those situations where the actor does not intend any harm but should have known taht his or her behavior created a high risk of harm to others.

criminal sanction

The punishment that is associated with being convicted of a crime


blameworthiness for criminal conduct based on mens rea

elements of a crime

The parts of a crime that the prosectuion must establish to obtain a conviction. If any one element of a crime cannot be established by the prosection, then a finding of not guilty must be entered as to that crime.

general intent

A concept emplyed by the courts to explain the required criminal intent for a defendant to be convicted of a certain crime, by which the government is not required to prove that the defendant intended to bring about a particular intent.

legal causation

a cause recognized by law as necessary to impose criminal liability

mala in se

Crimes that are inherently bad: for example, murder, rape and theft.

male prohibita

acts that are crime sonly because the government has declared them criminal. Acts that are not inherently bad: for example, hunting without a license, prostitution, gambing.

mens rea

The required mental state necessary to constitute a crime.


The unconcious creation of risk, or the mental sate in which the actor unknowingly creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to others.


The concious creation of substantial and unjustifiable risk.

specific intent

The intent to accomplish a specific purpose as an element of a crime.

strict liability crimes

Those crimes that reqire no proof of culpabiity or state of mind and are justified on the basis of the need to encourage extremely high standards of care for the protection of the public.

transferred intent

a principle of law that transfers the intent to harm to the person actually harmed. Involves a situation where a person intends to injure one person and mistakenly injures a third person.

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