Many crimes are broke up into two distinct aspects: the mens rea and the actus reus. The mens rea refers to the intent necessary for one to be convicted of a crime. For instance, the crime of larceny from a person requires that “the defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property.” M Crim JI 23.3. The actus reus refers to the act of the crime. In the case of larceny from a person, “there was some movement of the property.” M Crim JI 23.3. The concept of mens rea can be broken down into sub-concepts of specific intent and general intent. General intent typically means that the person intended the act. An example of a general intent crime is assault and battery. A person must merely intend to contact the victim or something closely connected with the victim. M Crim JI 17.2. Specific intent typically means that the person not only intend the act but intend the result. An example of a specific intent crime is assault with intent to do great bodily harm because the defendant must have “intended to cause great bodily harm.” M Crim JI 17.7.
Some crimes do not require a mens rea. One such crime is OWI, also known as drunk driving. For OWI, one does not have to intent to drive impaired or intoxicated. One merely has to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or with an unlawful blood alcohol content. M Crim JI 15.1. An unlawful blood alcohol content is 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of the defendant’s blood, per 210 liters of the defendant’s breath, or per 67 milliliters of the defendant’s urine. M Crim JI 15.5. Another crimes that does not require a mens rea is criminal sexual conduct. Under the criminal sexual conduct statute, one does not have to intend to have sexual contact with a person under the age of consent to be convicted of the crime.
For crimes that do require a specific intent, accident may be a defense. M Crim JI 7.3a. The reason is that by definition of something was an accident then you did not intend for it to happen.
A Calhoun County criminal defense attorney should know the above information.
As should an attorney from East Lansing, Grand Rapids, or Kalamazoo, Michigan. You want to be sure that whomever you retain, they are competent and will diligently represent you.
Nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice. To the extent that it discusses topics and legal issues, it is an over simplification and one should not rely on anything contained in this post. Some information may become obsolete or inaccurate with the passage of time. Other information may be about the law in general and not specifically to the law of the State of Michigan. One should contact an attorney prior to taking or refraining from any action. Heckman Law, PLLC blogs about counties and cities that it does not necessarily have a physical office or practice in.