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Actus Reus

“Actus reus” is a Latin term used in criminal law that refers to the physical act or conduct that constitutes a criminal offense. This means that it is the guilty act or external element of a crime. In order for a person to be held criminally liable, both actus reus and mens rea, which is the guilty mind or intent, must be present.

Actus reus includes various elements, and the specific requirements can vary depending on the nature of the offense. Common examples of actus reus include actions such as theft, assault, murder, and other criminal behaviors. However, some offenses may involve omissions or failures to act, which can also constitute actus reus under certain circumstances.

It is important to understand that for a person to be held criminally responsible, both actus reus and mens rea must be present. This means that the criminal act must have been accompanied by a criminal state of mind. The legal system typically requires both elements to be present for an individual to be held criminally liable.

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