Some readers from Pennsylvania may wish to know more about how “mens rea” is handled in law. The term, which is Latin for “guilty mind,” has a number of applications that can play a vital role in the prosecution of a criminal case.
Mens rea is essentially the state of mind a person had at the time a crime was committed. In terms of sentencing, someone who did not intend a crime may be viewed to be less culpable than someone who acted maliciously, and this could lead to a more lenient punishment upon conviction. This is known as determining the motive of a defendant. Knowing a defendant’s motivation for the crime in question can also aid criminal defense attorneys during the mitigation process as a whole.