Distinguish between the terms actus reus and mens rea.

Distinguish between the terms actus reus and mens rea.

Understanding the elements of a crime, particularly the distinctions between guilty mind and guilty act, are essential components for all criminal justice professionals to comprehend. Take the time this week to understand these concepts fully, and be prepared to use the information gained to analyze all criminal law questions throughout this course and in your professional career. It is natural to assume that either a mental state or criminal act can be easily proven; however, the old expression that “the devil is in the details” truly applies to these foundational, legal concepts. Always remember that the state must prove all elements of a criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt, and that burden of proof rests solely on the state. Your initial post must be at least 300 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required materials and/or other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references.

Please answer the following questions below:

Distinguish between the terms actus reus and mens rea. How are they significant in criminal law?

To what standard of law must the defendant’s mens rea be proven in order to gain a criminal conviction? Must the state prove “what the defendant was thinking at the time of the crime” in order to prove mens rea? Why or why not?

To what standard of law must each element of the actus reus be proven, and why?

Which of the two legal requirements listed above (i.e., actus reus, mens rea) is more difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a trial, and why?


Solution preview

Actus Reus is considered the physical component in a crime; the action is taken to perform or cause the crime (guilty act). For example when a person hits another with a broom. However, if the action is a reflex, it is not criminal. On the other hand Mens, rea is the mental component which is the direct or indirect intent…………………………


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