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Facts About Actus Reus

Actus Reus

The concept of actus reus is essential to the study of law. Comprehending what this term means and what it implies is important for professional attorneys, law students, and any individual who is involved in a criminal case.

Actus reus is one of the first topics that is introduced to law students, as it is fundamental to all other aspects of criminal law. In order to understand how and why criminals are convicted of a crime and sentenced to a criminal punishment, it is first essential to become familiar with the conditions of actus reus.

Without actus reus an individual cannot be convicted of a crime. Therefore, it is essential to know when actus reus has occurred in order to hold an individual liable for a crime.There are many different variables of a crime that may negate actus reus.


There are various different elements of a crime that must be satisfied in order for an individual to be convicted. These elements help to ensure that an individual is not sentenced to harsh and severe punishments if he or she should not be. If these elements did not exist then offenders may be punished for crimes that were not committed.

In order for a crime to have been committed actus reus must have occurred. Actus reus is the illegal activity that has occurred and has resulted in the harm or injury of another person. Without actus reus, a crime was not committed.

In many criminal cases, the criminal defense attorney will try to convince the jury that the defendant is not responsible for the crime in question. If there is not enough evidence to convince the jury that the defendant is guilty, then the defendant cannot be convicted of a crime. Without actus reus this process could not occur.


Actus reus is one of the primary and essential elements of a crime. In order for an individual to be found guilty of a crime the prosecutor must first prove that actus reus has occurred and that the defendant is responsible for the crime in question. The prosecutor must also prove the mens rea, or that the defendant intended to disregard the law and cause harm or injury to another person.

In order for the actus reus and the mens rea to be established, the defendant must have taken part in the illegal activity voluntarily. If the actions were not voluntary, then the defendant cannot be found guilty of the crime of which he or she is being accused. This raises the question of how an individual can take part in an illegal activity involuntarily.

In order for an offender to break the law he or she must voluntarily partake in a behavior that is deemed illegal. However, there are some instances in which an individual may violate the law with out any intention of doing so, and in some cases without particular knowledge of his or her actions.

As Constitutional Minimum

There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the establishment of minimum mandatory sentencing laws. The Federal Government became aware that the rate of crime in the United States was increasing. Both violent and non-violent crimes were increasing in frequency and the Government acknowledged the necessity of developing a method of successfully deterring individuals from taking part in illegal activities.

In order to do this the Federal Government created sentencing guidelines with which every court within every State must abide when imposing a criminal sentence upon a convicted criminal. These guidelines designate a minimum sentence for all individuals who are convicted of specific crimes. Therefore, all individuals who are convicted of possessing an illegal substance will receive the same consequences of their actions regardless of their criminal history and other important factors about their past and their present.

Although minimum sentences were developed to decrease crime and limit judicial discretion in order to reduce the risk of discrimination, many people argue that it leads to the imposition of punishments that can be considered to be unusual and cruel.


In order for actus reus to occur, an individual must voluntarily violate the law or take part in an action that has been deemed to be illegal. Actus reus may include driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, robbing a store, or assaulting another individual. It is very apparent that offenders who are responsible for these crimes should be apprehended and punished for their actions. Taking part in illegal activities will result in negative legal consequences.

However, it is not always clear or apparent who is responsible for criminal behavior. In some cases, an individual may receive penalties for an omission or for failing to take part in an activity that is essential or required. There are several stipulations of law that require individuals to take action.

Failure to comply with these laws will result in disciplinary actions or criminal punishment. Failing to take part in activities that are necessary may be just as detrimental as partaking in activities that are considered illegal. Therefore, crimes of omission may be severely punished.

NEXT: A Look at Minimum Sentences

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