Site Loader

Concurrence in the law is the requirement that a guilty mental state coincide with a guilty act.

Learn about the general elements of a crime and the theory of concurrence as it relates to criminal law.

Best services for writing your paper according to Trustpilot

Premium Partner
From $18.00 per page
4,8 / 5
4,80
Writers Experience
4,80
Delivery
4,90
Support
4,70
Price
Recommended Service
From $13.90 per page
4,6 / 5
4,70
Writers Experience
4,70
Delivery
4,60
Support
4,60
Price
From $20.00 per page
4,5 / 5
4,80
Writers Experience
4,50
Delivery
4,40
Support
4,10
Price
* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team

Definition of Concurrence

Imagine that you are celebrating the Fourth of July at a local block party. As the fireworks crescendo, you take out your trusty handgun and begin shooting wildly into the sky. You’ve had a bit to drink, and your aim isn’t that great. Suddenly, you fire into a crowd of people, striking another partygoer.

You rush to his side, only to realize it’s your sworn enemy that you’ve killed. You let out a shout of excitement, thrilled that your enemy has been killed.Can you be convicted of intentionally murdering your sworn enemy? Or does the fact that his death was an accident lessen your criminal liability?In general, a crime consists of two elements: a guilty mental state (the mens rea) and a guilty act (the actus reus). There must be concurrence between the guilty mental state and the guilty act. This means that both elements must occur at the same time, or at essentially same time. In a criminal trial, the prosecution must prove that the defendant’s guilty mental state coincided with his criminal action (the guilty act).

This theory is also known as contemporaneity or simultaneity.Under the concurrence theory, a retroactive or retrospective application of one of the criminal elements cannot be used to prove guilt. In other words, the act and state of mind must occur in unison. Consider again the example from the introduction of this lesson.

A prosecutor should have no trouble proving that you acted recklessly when you shot your sworn enemy – you discharged a firearm into a crowd of people, after all! But just because you delighted in accidentally killing your nemesis doesn’t mean that you possessed the requisite mental state to be convicted of a more serious crime, like intentional murder.In this example, the guilty act (the shooting and killing of your sworn enemy) did not coincide with a guilty mental state. But change the scenario just a bit, and you will see concurrence in the law in action:Imagine that you heard through the grapevine that your sworn enemy planned on attending the Fourth of July block party. Realizing that this is your chance to exact revenge, you stick your loaded pistol into your back pocket and head to the party. You disguise yourself so that no one will recognize you and wait patiently for your enemy to arrive. Then, as the fireworks go off, you take aim and shoot your sworn enemy in the back.This time, you went to the block party with the intention of killing your sworn enemy.

Not only did you desire this result, you prepared to commit the crime. At the time of the shooting, you intended to kill your enemy – that was your plan all along. Accordingly, there was concurrence between your guilty mental state and your guilty act.

Exceptions to Concurrence

Keep in mind that concurrence is only required where a guilty mental state is an element of the crime. While most crimes require proof of the mental state and the act, there are some crimes that do not require proof of a mental state at all.

These crimes, known as strict liability crimes, allow a defendant to be convicted even if he did not possess a guilty mental state. An example of a strict liability crime is statutory rape. ‘Statutory’ means a law created by a legislature. In this instance, the law criminalizes sexual conduct with a person under a certain age, regardless of the intent of the parties.

Lesson Summary

Concurrence in the law is the requirement that a guilty mental state and guilty act occur in unison. A guilty mental state cannot be retroactively applied to a guilty act in order to prove that a crime occurred. While most crimes require concurrence between state of mind and criminal act, strict liability crimes do not require concurrence because a defendant’s mental state is considered immaterial to his or her guilt.

Post Author: admin

x

Hi!
I'm Eric!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out