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The Model Penal Code Mental States: Purposefully

The Model Penal Code, or MPC, was written by the American Law Institute, or ALI, in an effort to streamline and standardize the criminal system and codes of the various states in the United States. The states have adopted and rejected various parts of the code. It can be agreed that the standardized definition of the mental states has been the MPC’s greatest contribution.

The MPC defines four mental states that can be used in the crimes a state enacts. They are purposefully, knowingly, recklessly, and negligently. Each mental state, starting with purposefully, is a slightly lower mental state standard than the one before it. So, purposefully is a higher level of mental state than is knowingly.

Purposefully, or purposely, is the most severe mental state, or form of intent, that a person can be required to have in order to have committed a crime. It requires that the individual accused have had the conscious objective of achieving the result that was achieved. For a crime that has purposely listed as the mental state, the person cannot have accidentally done something. He or she must have gone into a situation thinking “I am going to make X happen.”

This standard is typically used for the most severe crimes and not so much for minor infractions. The idea is that if a person commits a lesser infraction with a higher mental state, he can still be found to have had the requisite mental state since basically the mental state of a crime is the minimum that allows a person to have fully committed the crime.

Contact an Appleton Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of a crime in Appleton and need assistance clearing your name, contact the Appleton criminal defense lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. at 888-565-7597 to determine the best plan for a successful defense.