The advice of criminal lawyers should be sought in any case where a serious offence has been committed. Even if the crime was not a serious one, having a lawyer to advise you will ensure the best result can be obtained. Most lawyers will tell you there are two elements to any criminal offence.
- Prohibited conduct. This includes such things as robbing a bank, murder, assault and so on. Most people understand that there are certain types of conduct that will cause harm to others and that are against the law. Anyone who performs such conduct must be punished. However, that brings us to the second element.
- The mental element of a guilty mind or intention to commit the offence. The same offence can be committed by a person without the intention and they can get off without punishment. For instance, if you struck someone accidentally, you would not be guilty of assault because the element of intention to strike was not there. Furthermore, if you acted in self defence, that would give you a lawful excuse for the action so you may not be charged, or punished, even if you did hit them.