The justice system, criminal law, and crime capture the interest of everyone, students, lawyers, and academics. Scholars and law students educate and focus legal precedent in addition to modern practice. Much discussion and debate within the academy focuses on mens rea, known more popularly as criminal intent.
The phrase crimes under both common and modern law includes four components. These four components are: (1) A voluntary act (also referred to as actus reus) performed with (2) a culpable mind (also referred to as mens rea) (3) that caused (4) social harm.
The expression mens rea “may be the thought behind the classic maxim, actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea. Or perhaps in Blackstone’s translation, ‘an unwarrantable act with no vicious will isn’t any crime whatsoever… ‘ [Mens rea] basically… refers back to the blameworthiness entailed in selecting to commit a criminal wrong.” SANFORD H. KADISH & STEPHEN J. SCHULHOFER, CRIMINAL LAW And It Is PROCESSES 203 (seventh erectile dysfunction. 2001).
Criminal law handles amounts of intentionality, a narrowly circumscribed concept. You can contrast the narrow scope of intentionality using the broader idea of motive. Intent addresses “what” an individual did. Motive, however, addresses “why” the individual made it happen.
The narrow scope of mens rea supplies a crucial screening device. Since it is narrow, it enables the criminal justice system to screen socially dangerous conduct from conduct that’s socially allowable or perhaps encouraged. Motive, however, was generally irrelevant to the phrase common law crimes. The most popular law didn’t concern itself using the causes of the conduct, but instead the conduct itself.
Courts defined common law crimes having a mens rea component of either specific intent or general intent. General intent connoted a very broad mens rea meaning. These general intent crimes were characterised as individuals performed with moral blameworthiness. Rather of supplying clearness, however, this vague definition bred confusion both in British and American law.
Specific intent connoted a narrower meaning. As defined both under common law and utilized by courts in England and America for interpreting statutes, specific intent meant either (1) a wish to result in a social harm, or (2) understanding to some virtual certainty that harm will result.