Article 2. General Principles of Liability


§2.01.          Requirement of Voluntary Act; Omission as Basis of Liability; Possession as an Act


(1)     In order to be found guilty, you must either do something or not do something that you were physically capable of doing.

(2)     Here’s a list of acts that aren’t voluntary: (a) reflexes, (b) unconscious or sleep movements, (c) stuff you do when hypnotized or as the result of being hypnotized, (d) any other thing that’s not done of your own “effort and determination”.

(3)     The only ways you can be found guilty due to omission are:

(a)   If the law says that your omission makes the crime, or

(b)  If you breach a duty imposed by law.

(4)     Possession means that you knew you got or was given something and knew about it long enough to get rid of it.


§2.02.          General Requirements of Culpability


(1)         Except in cases of strict liability, you are not guilty unless you are shown to have acted purposefully, knowingly, recklessly or negligently.


(a)     Here is the definition of purposefully.

                                                          (i)      The person acts with the conscious object of doing conduct or achieving a result set out as an element of an offense.

                                                        (ii)      A person knows, believes, or hopes that required attendant circumstances exist.

(b)    Here is the definition of knowingly.

                                                          (i)      In regard to conduct or attendant circumstances, the person is aware.  (Even if the conduct is not their conscious objective.)

                                                        (ii)      In regard to result, the person is either aware or “practically certain” that his conduct will cause such a result.  (Even if they don’t have that result as their conscious objective.)

(c)    Recklessness is conscious disregard for a “substantial and unjustifiable” risk.

(d)    Negligence is unconscious disregard of risk that the person ought to be aware of.

(3)         If one of the Top Four is not prescribed, purposeful, knowing, or reckless acts will establish material elements.  But not negligence.

(4)         If a statute says a certain kind of culpability applies to an offense, we’ll take it to mean that that kind of culpability applies to all the elements.

(5)         There is a hierarchy or ranking of these kinds of culpability.  #1 is purpose, which can stand in for anything else.  #2 is knowledge, which can stand in for anything but purpose.  Recklessness is #3 and can stand in for negligence, and negligence is last at #4 and stands alone.

(6)         We don’t care if purpose is conditional unless that negates the harm.

(7)         Knowledge is satisfied with knowledge of high probability, unless the person believes it doesn’t exist.

(8)         Wilfulness will be the same as knowledge.

(9)         Only purpose applies to elements of an offense unless we’re told otherwise by the statute.

(10)    If the degree of an offense depends on the kind of culpability, you use the lowest grade consistent with the kind of culpability proved.


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