The Learning & Resource Section
BACK TO CRIMINAL LAW

Actus reus

Actus Reus

In criminal law, Actus Reus consists of the physical element of the crime. It consists of more than just an act; it comprises of all the elements of the offense other than the state of mind of the defendant. In order for a crime to be punishable there must be some form of Actus reus. Actus reus can be categorised as either by conduct, a result, state of affairs or some type of omission.


Conduct: The conduct of the act itself may be criminal. (Theft, perjury, rape, drug possession, carrying a firearm, etc.)


Result: The result of the act caused a criminal offence. In this instance, causation must be established to prove that the action amounted to a crime. (Battery, assault, murder, manslaughter, etc.)


State of Affairs: In this type of crime, the Actus reus consists of what the defendant was "being" and not necessarily what they were "doing". For example, being drunk while behind the wheel.


Omission: This can only occasionally amount to Actus reus. Generally, there is no liability for failing to act but there are exceptions:

  • 1. Statutory Duty
  • 2. Contractual Duty
  • 3. Legal Duty
Your Are Correct !
Your Are Incorrect !