If you have been charged with a crime, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to get legal representation. Some of your rights and defenses are time sensitive and waiting can harm your ability to put forward a good defense.
You can contact a lawyer with Hurst & Hurst Law at (859) 209-2101 for a free consultation. Being charged with a crime is a serious matter, but we can help you determine whether the facts of the charge support a conviction, a lesser charge, would qualify for pretrial diversion, or even a dismissal of the case. Understanding your charge, whether it is a felony or misdemeanor is important to your defense.
Generally, crimes have two basic elements: (1) the mental culpability and (2) the act. These elements are referred to in their Latin names as “mens rea” meaning “guilty mind; a guilty or wrongful purpose; a criminal intent,” and “actus reus” meaning the “criminal act or omission.” A crime is committed when a person commits a guilty act while at the same time having the intent to commit a crime or a guilty mind.
Crimes also have specific elements that are by statute. For example, a First Degree Assault charge in Kentucky is listed in the Kentucky Revised Statutes as follows:
Kentucky Revised Statutes 508.010 – Assault in the first degree.
(1) A person is guilty of assault in the first degree when:
(a) He intentionally causes serious physical injury to another person by
means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument; or
(b) Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of
human life he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of
death to another and thereby causes serious physical injury to another
We can break this statute down into its base elements, which create two ways to commit First degree Assault:
(1) Mind set (Mens Rea) – intentional, meaning you intended what happened
(2) Wrongful act (Actus Reus) – requires both of the following:
(i) a serious physical injury
(ii) to another person
(3) An additional element to this crime is the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to commit the act
(1) Mind set (Mens Rea) – wanton, meaning you are aware that the act would create a substantial and unjustifiable risk and continue to act anyway
(2) Wrongful act (Actus Reus) – requires all of the following:
(i) conduct which creates a grave risk of death
(ii) causes serious physical injury
(iii) to another person
(3) An additional element to this crime is that the accused must manifest an extreme indifference to the value of human life.
To obtain a conviction, the Commonwealth must prove all of the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you have been charged with a crime it is important to understand the legal process and have the best defense possible. Doing so requires understanding what you have been charged with and what the Prosecutor has to prove to convict a person of that charge. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand your charges and the best approach to defending those charges.