Basic Elements Of A Criminal Offense Essay

777 Words 4 Pages
Elements of a Criminal Offense: Theory I decided to do option #2, on the critical thinking exercise. The question that was asked, what are the basic elements of a criminal offense? Explain why they are important concepts in legal aspects within the court of law. With that being said, there are four elements to any crime committed. Each one of these elements must be proven before someone gets charged with the crime.
The first one is Actus Reus, which is to be said, “as the material or objective element” (Aydin, 2014). Basically, it is the physical act of the crime being committed. The second element is, Mens Rea. Which is stated to be, “the mental or subjective element” (Aydin, 2014). Basically, it is the mental state of mind the individual
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For instance James Holmes of the Aurora shooting. In this case the state needs to prove that James Holmes performed a physical act that caused social harm, with the intent to bring about the harm. The prosecution has to prove that he did a physical act, of shooting all those people in the theater. Then they would have to prove what state of mind he was in. They need to prove that he knew what he was doing, and knew the consequences.
The physical act is not hard to prove, since Holmes performed the physical act. Either he did, or he didn’t is all they are trying to prove. There are a lot of witnesses and there is no way anyone could not prove he was the one that did the crime. It should be noted that he admitted to the crime, but is trying to use the excuse of insanity.
The hard part out of all of these elements is the mental state. The only person that knows where there state of mind was during the time of committing a crime, is the individual doing the crime. This is the one that drags these court cases out for months, and years. Everyone has the right to a fair trial, so the courts must give the defense enough time to prove what state of mind there client was
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This not only allows every individual to a fair trial, but brings justice on those that break the law. It wouldn’t be fair to an individual if they were thrown in prison the rest of their life, all because someone said they did a crime. Back in the day that is how things happened. For instance the witch trials. If an individual said they believed you were a witch, then you must die. There was a lot of innocent people killed all because of what someone said. That is why in our day and age, we give everyone a fair chance to present their

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