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Elements of Crime

Essay by   •  February 2, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  1,014 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,654 Views

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Elements of a Crime

The three elements of crime include the following: actus reus, mens rea, and an agreement between both (Meyers & Grant, 2003). The first element is actus reus. Actus reus is the commission of a crime. The second element is mens rea (Meyers & Grant). Mens rea is a person knowing the act they are committing is illegal. The third element of a crime occurs when actus reus and mens rea link together in the commission of a crime (Meyers & Grant).

When an illegal act occurs, the act may need to have attendant circumstances happen for the act to be considered a crime. Attendant circumstances take place when necessary stipulations are met, or the lack of the stipulations is not there for the illegal act to occur (Meyers & Grant, 2003). The person has to have the ability to conduct the crime before a conviction can be given to an offender. An example of this is a court case where a man was granted a new trial by the states supreme court. The basis for the new trial was rendered because the state's supreme court believed the man could not be held liable for his actions when he used an unloaded firearm while attacking his neighbor (Meyers & Grant). The three elements, and depending on the crime four elements, are known as corpus delicti. Corpus delicti states that no crime can occur without a guilty deed preceding guilty intention (Meyer & Grant).

My recommendation for society being able to define and understand each element of a crime is a program of education about what a crime is and how it is defined. Educating people, whether they are young or old, male or female, and those who are already offenders or considering becoming an offender. Every group of society needs to be informed of the world around them and how it works. Education is the key to opening up information. If someone is considering committing a crime, they may be discouraged by hearing how a crime is defined. This is also true for the young and old. Knowing what acts are needed to make an action a crime can give them insight to their way of understanding others.

Legal Defenses

When a person commits an illegal act, the person has to do so with the intention of knowingly breaking a law. When a person does commit an illegal act but does so without mens rea, they can be considered not guilty because they were not legally accountable for what they have done (Meyer & Grant, 2003). When a person finds themselves in this type of situation, ten legal defenses can be taken so the person will not be held legally responsible. The legal defenses include infancy, mistake of fact, syndromes, insanity, intoxication, entrapment, necessity, self-defense, coercion/duress, and prevention of a violent felony (Meyer & Grant). For a person to use one of the legal defenses, the judge and the prosecuting attorney need to make sure all needed stipulations are there

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