Most murder cases require what lawyers refer to as "mens rea", which is simply the Latin phrase meaning "guilty mind". Simply put, what was going through the mind of an individual accused of murder and what that individual actually wanted to do when the murder was committed makes a difference. Mens rea permits the criminal justice system to tell the difference between an individual who did not intend to commit a murder and an individual who intentionally set out to commit a murder.
Are you or a loved one facing murder charges? If so, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area today for more information.
In addition to homicide cases regarding actus reus and mens rea, our criminal defense lawyers work in many other criminal practice areas, including but not limited to:
When mens rea is not present, or if the accused individual’s mens rea is reduced or compromised due to a mental disorder or another situation, the suspect cannot be blamed or disciplined by his omission or act. In other words, the prosecution has to verify that the accused individual not only committed the murder, but also that the defendant had the required state of mind to be legally liable for the act.
Mens rea was viewed as an essential restriction on the reach of the criminal law because, unlike the civil law, the criminal law carried a heavy social stigma and the potential of time in jail. As such, it is a suitable tool for punishing only individuals whose behavior marked them as having “violated the basic social contract.
Do you or someone you know have additional questions regarding mens rea in a murder charge? Our criminal defense lawyers are here to help! Contact a criminal defense attorney in your local area today
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