Branford Criminal Lawyer
Being charged with a crime is a scary prospect for most people. The idea of a potential jail sentence is not something anyone will take lightly. When facing a criminal charge, a Branford criminal lawyer can reduce the stress you and your family are going through by providing you with a better idea about what consequences you are looking at.
A criminal defense attorney can also help defend you in court to try to reduce or eliminate the charges you are facing.
Actus Reus – The Action for the Crime
The first element of a criminal act is that there must be an actus reus by the accused person. Actus reus is simply the act or conduct of the crime, for some crimes it is an omission of an act or failing to act a certain way.
For this element to be met the conduct has to be voluntary, meaning that if a person can show they were forced to act that may be a defense against the actus reus.
Some other defenses against the actus reus element is that the person is unconscious or asleep during the act. For example, if a person has a seizure and strikes another person they are not responsible for that action because it was involuntary.
Mens Rea – The Mental State Required for the Crime
Mens rea is the mental state of the person at the time of the crime. There are four specific types of mens rea from increasing to decreasing levels of blame intent, knowledge, recklessness, and negligence.
- Intent is a conscious desire to do something and acting towards it
- Knowledge is when a person is aware that their actions will result in a result but not with an active intent to make that action happen
- With recklessness, a person decides to act a certain knowing that the behavior is risky but they do not care. For example, a person chooses to run a red light in traffic knowing that there is a risk it will cause an accident
- Finally, negligence is when a person is not aware of the risk of their conduct but they should have been aware of it. A reasonable person would have been aware that the behavior would have been risky, but this person did not
There is also a category of crimes called strict liability that requires no mens rea at all and the simple act alone is enough for it to be a crime. An example of this kind of crime is statutory rape. With statutory rape, the person does not need to know the age of the other person, even if they were lied to, it would not matter. Simply sleeping with the other person that is underage is enough to constitute a crime.
How a Branford Criminal Lawyer Can Help
One of the most important things your Branford criminal lawyer can do for you is provide you with valuable information about the law. Additionally, you have the option to decide how you want to move forward with your case.
You may decide that you do not want to litigate and instead want to negotiate with the government. Your lawyer can speak to the prosecutor and see if they would bring down the charges.
However, if you do want to go to trial then you having a Branford criminal attorney can make all the difference in the world in adequately defending yourself.