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Strict Liability

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  • August 2010
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Topics in Criminal Law

May 25, 2010
Abstract
Strict liability crimes require no culpable mental state and present a significant exception to the principle that all crimes require a conjunction of action and mens rea. Strict liability offenses make it a crime simply to do something, even if the offender has no intention of violating the law or causing the resulting harm. Strict liability is based philosophically on the presumption that causing harm is in itself blameworthy regardless of the actor’s intent (Schmalleger, Hall & Dolatowski, 2010).

Strict liability crimes require no culpable mental state and present a significant exception to the principle that all crimes require a conjunction of action and mens rea. Strict liability offenses make it a crime simply to do something, even if the offender has no intention of violating the law or causing the resulting harm. Strict liability is based philosophically on the presumption that causing harm is in itself blameworthy regardless of the actor’s intent (Schmalleger, Hall & Dolatowski, 2010).

Mens area is the mental aspect of criminal law; it can be easily summarized as the idea of motive. A guilty mind in isolation doesn’t necessarily make him/her criminally guilty. There are essentially four different kinds of Mens rea, intention, where it was planned. Knowledge, negligence and recklessness are the other circumstances where an individual can be describe as being guilty of the mind(Simons, 1997).

Criminal liability is what unlocks the logical structure of the Criminal Law. Each element of a crime that the prosecutor needs to prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) is a principle of criminal liability. There are some crimes that only involve a subset of all the principles of liability, and these are called "crimes of criminal conduct". Burglary, for example, is such a crime because all you need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt is an actus reus concurring with a mens rea. There are crimes that involve all the...