Mens Rea I

Mens Rea I

Start exploring mens rea, which is the mental state element required of any crime, beginning with a discussion of the mental states of purpose and knowledge.


In addition to needing a culpable act, a crime is not a crime without a culpable state of mind, or mens rea.

Because the principles of mens rea are complex, we’ll discuss them in two parts. This first lesson focuses primarily on the two most serious kinds of mens rea. The next lesson will turn to the other types of mens rea and also get into some of the intricacies of the concept.

One of the purposes of criminal law is to assign moral blame. Requiring that defendants possess a culpable state...