Seven Principles of Criminal Law

Legality (must be a law)

Offensive and harmful behavior is not illegal unless it has been prohibited by law before it was committed

Actus reus (Human conduct)

For a crime to occur there must be an act of either commission or omission by the accused. can't be convicted of a crime due to your status

Causation (human conduct must cause harm)

For a crime to have been committed, there must be a casual relationship between and act and the harm suffered

Harm (to some other/thing)

To be a crime, an act must cause harm to some legally protected value. Questioned by some because they may be causing harm only to themselves

Concurrence (State of Mind and Human Conduct)

The intent and the act must be present at the same time.

Mens Rea (State of Mind; "guilty mind")

Exceptions are strict liability offenses involving health and safety, in which it is not necessary to show intent. Legislatures have criminalized certain kinds of offenses in order to protect the public. Courts limit application of such laws to situations in which recklessness or indifference is present.


Must be a provision in the law calling for punishment of those found guilty of violating the law