Criminal Elements: Definition and Application

In the investigation of individuals who come into conflict with the law, there are factors to consider adjudging the person as being truly guilty of the crime that he is charged with. I deducing this fact, certain elements of the commission of a crime must be satisfied. If these elements are lacking, then the person is adjudged to be innocent of the offense that they are charged with. Elements of a crime: Satisfaction of the requirement of guilt The liability of an individual that has committed a criminal offense must be satisfied with the meeting of the requirements that the person indeed committed such an act and be found guilty of the act.

If a crime has been committed against the laws of the state, then the following elements must be present in the deduction of the culpability of the individual (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008). There are two elements of a criminal offense. One is the unforced or willing act of the individual or the omission of the act (Actus Rea) that is consorted with the particular state of mind of the individual (Mens Rea). (Britannica, 2008). Criminal elements can be compared to the components in the preparation of a particular dish (Kathy Moore, 1997).

Each of the components must not be lacking in the composition and construction of the case; if one of the elements will be missing, then the whole structure of the case will weaken (Moore, 1997). These components are prescribed in the following resources; common law, ordinance, or an intermixture of both (Moore, 1997). An act or crime may be identified in broad terms then broken down into several components in the provisions of the ordinance against the act (Moore, 1997).

Involuntary acts such as the movements of a person afflicted with seizures are not to be equated with the legal terminology of the act in determining a criminal offense (Britannica, 2008). Neither are the acts of a person doe under hypnotic episodes are to fall under this ambit (Britannica, 2008). Even though the acts of the person during this period would result in fatalities or grievous injury to another person, the party would not be held liable for the act (Britannica, 2008). The aspect of criminal liability is satisfied if there is direct participation of the offender (Britannica, 2008).

In effect, the test is that the event would not have occurred if the offender was a non-participant in the case (Britannica, 2008). Actus Rea: Wilfully done The satisfaction of the first element of a criminal offense is that the criminal wilfully committed the crime, or actus rea (Adam Rossi). In the case of State v Gardner, 118 Ohio St. 3d 420, 2008-Ohio-2787, the defendant was accused of aggravated burglary (Supreme Court of Ohio, 2008). Though the juries acquitted Gardner of the other charges, the latter was found guilty of the burglary charges (Ohio, 2008).

The jury averred that even if Gardner did not intend at the moment of committing the crime, he had, and was not barred forming, the opportunity to create a judgement to intend of committing the crime while the crime was in progress (Ohio, 2008). Since he was not coerced or forced to commit the crime, he was liable for the first element of the crime (Ohio, 2008). Mens Rea: The State of the Mind of the Criminal The actuation of the criminal is not only satisfied with the evidence of a free act of ones’ own volition; it must be shown that there was an intent and purpose in the act (Rossi).

Most judicial authorities do emphasize the integrity of the state of mind of a criminal in the commission of the crime, but has been vague on what exact definitions constitute and satisfy the requirement (Britannica, 2008). In the American Penal statutes, the terms, “purposely, “recklessly”, and “knowingly” have been attached to the finding of guilt with regards to the second criminal element (Britannica, 2008). Often, the demonstration of intent on the part of the criminal is not required for the finding of guilt, if it can be demonstrated that injurious results have resulted from the commission of the act (Albert Putney, 1908).

Other cases where the need for the mens rea component is not needed is in cases of statutory rape, where the age of the child would be factor in the affording of consent (Britannica, 2008). Are they fair or unfair? In the determination of the individual’s guilt for the particular offense he is charged with, the two elements must be able to come together. One element must not be lacking in order to arrive at the guilt or innocence of an individual (Moore, 1997). If the individual’s act cannot be held liable in the application of the elements of a criminal offense, then the person is adjudged innocent.

The doctrine of “double jeopardy” would be able to protect the individual from further prosecution and possible arrest for the same infraction or offense (Britannica, 2008). References Encyclopedia Britannica. (2008). Criminal law: the elements of crime. Retrieved October 31, 2008, from http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/143120/criminal- law/25576/The-elements-of-crime Moore, K. (1997). Elements of criminal law. Retrieved October 31, 2008, from http://www. jus. state. nc. us/NCJA/elements. pdf. Putney, A. H. (1908). Popular Law Library Volume 10: Criminal law, Criminal procedure, Wills, Administration: Examination Questions.

Section 13: Elements of a crime. Cleveland: Cree, 1908 Putney, A. H. (1908). Popular Law Library Volume 10: Criminal law, Criminal procedure, Wills, Administration: Examination Questions. Section 316: Intention, convenience not material. Cleveland: Cree, 1908 Rossi, A. (n. d. ). Elements of criminal offense. Retrieved October 31, 2008, from http://adam. rosi-kessel. org/law/outlines/crim_outline_ramirez_spring05. doc Supreme Court of Ohio. (2008). State v Gardner. Retrieved October 31, 2008, from http://www. sconet. state. oh. us/rod/docs/pdf/0/2008/2008-Ohio-2787. pdf.