In 2014, the Ohio Legislature passed into law new Ohio criminal mental state requirements. This new law required any criminal laws passed after December 19, 2014, to contain a mental state or a guilty mind as an element of the offense. This means the new crime must include the requirement that the accused committed the act recklessly, knowingly or intentionally. Acting recklessly, knowingly or intentionally is acting with the mental state required as part of the offense.
New Ohio Criminal Mental State Requirements Do Not Apply To DUI
New crimes could not simply be strict liability offenses. Strict liability offenses criminalize acts without requiring the individual to have a conscious design towards committing the acts. In other words, strict liability offenses do not require a mental state as an element of the offense. Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and the corresponding BAC charge are examples of strict liability offenses.
New Ohio Criminal Mental State Requirements Apply To All New and Some Old Laws
The new Ohio mental state requirements law did not stop there. This new law also applies to old laws to a limited extent. When an element of the offense of an old law is related to knowledge or intent, the statute must prove the individual acted recklessly.
New Ohio Criminal Mental State Requirements More Proactive Than Federal Laws
In enacting this law in 2014, the new Ohio mental state requirements were ahead of its time. As of the time of this article, Federal laws do not have this requirement, which means there are numerous federal laws that do not require the government to prove a mental state or guilty mind. The United States Congress is considering requiring a mental state requirement for federal crimes. Without a mental state requirement, walking away from a baggage carousel with a suitcase you mistook for your own could be theft. When a mental state is required, it only becomes theft if you know you did not own it.
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Attorney Gigiano is a Wadsworth criminal defense attorney in Medina County and a Wadsworth DUI attorney in Medina County. Call now at 330-336-3330 if you need the services of an Akron criminal defense attorney near Barberton, or a Wooster criminal defense attorney near Orrville.