What Is the Definition of Criminal Behavior?

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Criminal behavior is defined as an act or failure to act in a way that violates public law. Public law is most often established by a governing body, and will therefore vary between countries and states.

For criminal behavior to result in a conviction, not only the act (actus reus) must be proven, but the criminal intent or mental state (mens rea) behind the act must be proven as well.

The intent behind criminal behavior may be subdivided by a distinction between direct or oblique, with the former referring to premeditated or deliberate crime (such as murder) and the latter indicating accidental or indirect crime (such as manslaughter).