Three elements of a crime

By Jed Padoa

Element 1: Awareness of Duty

In order for something to be considered a crime, the committer must be aware that what he/she is doing is a crime. When laws are recorded, people have a duty to be knowledgeable about them. Awareness of duty must be established to find someone liable of a crime.

Violation of Duty

It must be shown in a civil case that the accused has violated their duty to be aware of the law. Usually, this element is a given and there is no need to establish it until you go to trial.

Criminal Intent

This element mainly applies to civil cases and examines if a person had the intent of committing a crime. This can be misleading as people that did not have criminal intent can still be charged.