Any crime has four basic elements that must be proven before someone can be charged. The elements are 1.) Actus Reus (physical act), 2.) Mens Rea (mental state), 3.) Causation, and 4.) Social Harm. Basically the State must prove that the accused performed a physical act that caused social harm with the intent to bring about the harm. The exact act or mental state that is required is usually defined in statutes. The harm is generally going to be result of the act that was committed, such as hitting someone or stealing. Causation basically just means that the act committed caused the end harm.
The physical act is usually not difficult to prove since the person accused either performed a physical act or did not. However proving the required mental state is usually the most difficult part. It is not always necessary to intend to cause the harm. There are some crimes that only require criminal negligence to satisfy the mental state requirement. Criminal negligence basically means that when the act was performed you should have known that the harmful result could occur. There are some violations that do not require a showing of any type of intent, all that must be shown is that the act occurred. These are called strict liability crimes and are largely traffic violations.
If you are charged with a crime it can be a scary and daunting situation. Hiring an attorney who understands complex criminal and procedure can impact the outcome of your case and help you get the justice you deserve. Our attorneys have experience handling criminal cases in NC and will work hard to defend your case. Contact one of our attorneys directly by calling 704-499-9000 or toll free 877-374-5999. You will be glad you did. Don’t worry. We are here to help.