The Sanders Firm, P.C.: Culpability in Criminal Law

When a lawyer at The Sanders Firm, P.C. represents someone who is charged with a crime, one of the first things we do is attempt to evaluate culpability. Culpability is a consideration and a measurement of a defendant’s blameworthiness in the commission of a crime. In terms of culpability, a person will usually carry blame when they knowingly, purposely, negligently, or recklessly perform an action that is criminal.

Criminal Liability

In New York State, criminal liability and mental culpability are defined in the following manner in S 15.10:

“Requirements for criminal liability in general and for offenses of strict liability and mental culpability. The minimal requirement for criminal liability is the performance by a person of conduct which includes a voluntary act or the omission to perform an act which he is physically capable of performing. If such conduct is all that is required for commission of a particular offense, or if an offense or some material element thereof does not require a culpable mental state on the part of the actor, such offense is one of ‘strict liability.’ If a culpable mental state on the part of the actor is required with respect to every material element of an offense, such offense is one of ‘mental culpability.’”

If someone is criminally liable and the case against him or her is proven, then they are sentenced accordingly. The degree of culpability will be one of the factors that will determine their sentence as will the severity of the crime and past criminal record of the defendant.

Proving Culpability

In order to prove culpability, the prosecution must be able to connect the individual to the crime in a manner that dispels all reasonable doubt as to their innocence. In addition, they must act in a manner described above, purposely, recklessly, negligently, or knowingly or any combination of the four. The manner in which this second aspect is proven by the prosecution may involve eyewitness accounts, circumstantial evidence related to the crime, and behavior prior to and after the crime. The more evidence the prosecution possesses the better their chances are of proving culpability. Additionally, if the prosecution can utilize the evidence, connecting it in a logical manner to the defendant and their actions, then they will have a solid chance of proving a defendant’s culpability.

Disproving Culpability

For a defense lawyer at The Sanders Firm, P.C. the task in a criminal case often involves negating a defendant’s culpability. Sometimes this is a simple matter as the case the prosecution has developed is weak and the defendant’s connection to blameworthiness is weak. A lack of witnesses and a lack of enough crucial evidence can greatly lessen the opportunity for the prosecution to prove one’s culpability.

However, often the task of disproving culpability involves a lot of hard work that takes time and effort. In either situation, you require criminal counsel and The Sanders Firm, P.C. is prepared to defend you. Contact us and we will be your voice for justice.