Introductory Comment: Defining “Actus Reus”

A crime has two parts: the mental part (“mens rea”) and the physical part (“actus reus”).  Actus reus can be interpreted to include your conduct, the harm that your conduct caused, plus the causal link between the conduct and the harm.

Murder requires a physical result (a dead person).  Some crimes, however, don’t require a result immediately caused by your conduct (e.g. drunk driving).  They may require something called social harm, about which more later.

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