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12 Legal Concepts To Criminal Law

Apr 28, 2008
I've basically tried to explain 12 basic criminal law concepts that should give you a better understanding of some of the ideas you'll need to master if you do decide to take up a career in criminal law.

Actus reus - The Latin phrase translated into modern English is 'guilty act'. In any criminal case, it is essentially the responsibility of the prosecution to prove 'proof of fault' which can be described in two ways, as a culpability or blame-worthiness. It is necessary for the proof to show that the defendant is guilty in mind.

Causation - How were the results brought about? It may be a pretty simple process, but it's imperative when putting together any legal case, that the solicitors can be sure without a doubt that the accused were responsible for the omission or act which caused the illegal consequence.

Concurrence - Guilty action as already been discussed, concurrence basically describes the need for both the guilty action and guilty mind. Concurrence is needed, but not always, in the cases of strict liability. The basic principle is simply, if the guilty action does not coincide with the guilty mind, then no crime has been committed.

Mens area - This is the mental aspect of criminal law, it can be easily summarized as the idea of motive. A guilty mind in isolation doesn't necessarily make him/her criminally guilty. There are essentially four different kinds of Mens rea, intention, where it was planned. Knowledge, negligence and recklessness are the other circumstances where an individual can be describe as being guilty of the mind. You can find a more elaborate explanation of Mens rea by visiting: http://www.insightempire.com/Criminallawelements/

Intention - Did they have the foresight to see the consequences and then conjure up the desire to act or fail to act to prevent the consequences? If they are able to prove this scenario, then said individual is not guilty. This concept is very important and is one of the areas that are most widely contested when a case reaches the court.

Recklessness - This is a type of Mens area, it means the individual falls as being less culpable than intention or knowledge, but that individual still would have been able to prevent the inevitable consequences had he/she not been guilty.

Criminal Negligence - Inattentive, careless or neglectful. Negligence is as discussed above, another type of Mens rea. In order for an individual to seek criminal negligence, he or she would have had the foresight to see the inherent risk which is responsible for the illegal outcome.

Wilful Blindness - This is when an individual attempts to avoid liability for a crime by presenting themselves as being unaware of the facts which would otherwise make them liable for the crime. This concept protects them in such situations where people make deliberate attempts to excuse themselves from all liability.

Ignorantia juris non excusat - A translation of this phrase from Latin to modern English would be 'Ignorance of the Law doesn't excuse'. This is one of the easier aspects of criminal law to follow. Just because he or she may not be fully aware of the law or some of its details, it does not mean that he or she can not be guilty.

Vicarious Liability - This means that if a group of people are jointly involved in a criminal act, they are all liable for their actions carried out as a group. Typically, in today's criminal cases, there isn't really a vicarious liability as an individual must be responsible to be found guilty.

Corporate Viability - In the eyes of the law today, corporations as well as companies can be treated as individual people.

Strict Liability - In cases were strict liability arises, mens rea does not have to be proven, the individual being charged with a strict liability crime, can be found guilty and convicted even if their ignorant or totally unaware of the crime.
About the Author
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor and co founder of Free Affiliate Programs For more information and resource links on Criminal Law visit: Criminal Law Elements
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