The Three Elements on Why People Commit a Crime
There are many different meanings of crime and many different reasons people commit crimes. In the United States, defense lawyers try to prove their clients did not know what they were doing when they committed the crime and the prosecution tries to prove the defendant did know what they were doing when they committed the crime. However, the prosecution must have the elements of a crime, which means state of facts to prove someone guilty. The prosecution lawyers and the defense lawyers use elements of a crime for the defendant. The following are examples of elements of a crime: mens rea, autus reus, concurrence of actus renus and mens rea. All of these can be used as elements of a crime.
First, the first element of a crime is Mens rea. “The mental element is known as the mens rea, or mental state, of the defendant.” (Hames & Ekern, 2009) The prosecution lawyers try to prove if the ...view middle of the document...
” (Hames & Eken, 2009) The prosecution tries to prove the defendant planned to commit the crime. However, the defense tries to prove the defendant did not plan to commit the crime.
Third, the prosecution has proven that the defendant committed a crime. The concurrence of autus reus and mens rea is the third element of a crime. “At trial, the defendant maintained that the damage caused by his operation of the vehicle was accidental and resulted from his impaired state, and that he was therefore not guilty of defacing personal property because he did not intentionally and willfully cause the damage as required for a conviction.” (Hames & Eken, 2009) The prosecution cannot convict the defendant of a crime if the defendant did not intentionally commit a crime. Sometimes, the defendant does not mean to commit a crime. Perhaps they were in defending themselves or maybe it was it accident.
Finally, all three elements of a crime can be used in a criminal case. For example, “Jacob Simmon believes that he will be charged with several crimes” (Hames & Eken, 2009) “Jacob Simmon threw a beer bottle and hit someone. “Simmon did not mean to hurt the man. All three elements of a crime were used: mens rea was used because he was reckless, actus reus was used because he was not forced to throw the bottle and hit the guy. Concurrence of the actus reus and mens rea was used even though he did not mean hurt the man he still can be charged with a crime.” (Hames & Eken, 2009)
In the United States a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Prosecution lawyers and defense lawyers must prove why the defendant committed the crime, or if they did commit a crime. A prosecution cannot charge someone with a crime unless they can prove someone committed a crime. Therefore, they use the three elements of a crime. They used mens rea, actus reus, concurrence of the actus reus and mens rea. They can use all three elements of a crime in a criminal case. These three elements of a crime will help to see why the defendant committed the crime or if they intended to commit the crime.
Hames, Joanne B.; Ekern, Yvonne. Introduction to Law. 4th Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 2009. VitalBook file. Bookshelf.