Home  >  Articles  >  The Model Penal Code Mental States Recklessly

Appleton Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Model Penal Code Mental States: Recklessly

The Model Penal Code is a model set of rules concerning crimes and what their punishment should be. The Code was written by the American Law Institute, or ALI, in an effort to take account of what the various states had enacted as their criminal provisions.

While it does this admirably, the greatest contribution of the code, as recognized by judges, defense lawyers, and prosecutors alike, has been its clarification of what mental state, precisely, is required for an individual to have committed a crime. The most serious is purposefully or purposely and the least serious is negligently. Recklessly is a step above negligently and two steps below purposely.

A person is said to have acted “recklessly” with respect to a material element of an offense when he or she consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his or her conduct. Basically, a person has to be aware of the potential for X to happen following his or her action and then choose to ignore that potential effect and go about with the original action in the first place.

In order for a person to act recklessly, the risk that is consciously ignored must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that any law-abiding person would observe when placed in the same situation as the actor. The risk must be considered when taking into account the nature and purpose of the actor’s conduct and all of the circumstances and information known to him.

Contact an Appleton Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of a crime and are facing criminal charges, contact the Appleton criminal defense lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. at 1-888-565-7597 to discuss your situation and to determine the best plan for a successful defense.