Criminal Justice | Learning Resources | Section 3.3

Criminal Justice: An Overview of the System by Adam J. McKee

Section 3.3: Elements of Crimes

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Learning Resources

Learning Objectives
3.3(a) Describe the actus reus element of crimes.
3.3(b) Describe the mens rea element of crimes referencing the four culpable mental states recognized in the Model Penal Code.
3.3(c) Explain what is meant by strict liability, and given examples of strict liability offenses.
3.3(d) Define the element of concurrence.
3.3(e) Differentiate between crimes of general intent and crimes of specific intent.
3.3(f) Describe the element of harm, and how the element of cause relates to it.

Slide Presentations

For the Classroom:  INTRO-Section-3-3-presentation

For Printing: INTRO-Section-3-3-print

Present from the web:

Key Terms

  • Bill of Attainder
  • Actual Possession
  • Actus Reus
  • Causation
  • Concurrence
  • Constructive Possession
  • Elements (of crimes)
  • Harm
  • Knowingly
  • Malice Aforethought
  • Model Penal Code
  • Negligently
  • Omission
  • Possession
  • Purposely
  • Recklessly

Download a Printable Vocabulary Study Guide [PDF]: Intro_Section_3.3

In your more advanced courses and in your future career, your understanding of many technical and legal terms will be taken for granted.  It is vital that you take the time to really understand the terms presented at the end of each section of this course.  We’ve gone to great lengths to provide you with assistance in mastering this vocabulary.  Don’t forget that there is an extensive glossary that defines all of the bold terms that you will encounter in your reading.  In addition, the vocabulary for each section has been made available on a very useful website called  This site has a wide selection of flashcards for you to study, memorize, test yourself on, and more.  Cram also has a large app store so you can find other mobile flashcards for your Android, iPhone, or Windows device, allowing you to take your flashcards on the go. There are even games that add some fun to learning important terms.

Study Flashcards for this vocabulary on

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Last Updated:  04/21/2021

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