Legal Dictionary

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Elements of a Crime

The elements of a crime are the constituent parts of the crime, which are usually the actus reus, mens rea and causation. The prosecution must prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict a person. The Model Penal Code expands the definition of elements of a crime, adding such issues as grading factors and the negative effect of defenses. Elements of a crime are also referred to as “elements of an offense.”