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What Are the Elements of a Crime?

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* What are the elements of a crime? How do elements of a crime apply to the overall criminal procedure process? What recommendations would you make to better define/improve understanding of elements of a crime?

There needs to be three main elements for a crime to occur. The three elements are Mens rea, Actus reus, and Concurrence. Mens rea is the mental state of a defendant's intent. The defendant has to have a guilty mind knowing that the act is evil. Actus reus is the actual criminal act of a crime. A defendant cannot be punished for just having evil thoughts. For example, a man cannot be prosecuted for only thinking about killing his wife. A defendant's evil thoughts must be voluntarily, and must be carried out, for the elements of an offense to be fully established. Evil thoughts and evil words are two different obstacles. Although evil thoughts are not punishable, evil words are. A few of examples of evil words are: verbal threats, perjury, and solicitation. The final element of a crime is concurrence. Finally, before an act can be defined as a crime, there must exist a concordance between the actus reus and the mens rea (Meyer. J. and Grant, D. 2003.)

A recommendation that I would make to better define/improve understanding of elements of a crime, is to make the definition words in English. In my opinion it would be easier to remember simple English words rather than actus REUS and mens REA which sounds very alike and confusing.


Meyer. J. and Grant, D. (2003) The Courts in Our Criminal Justice System. Page29



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