Require reckless disregard of a high risk of harm. Intent is inferred from accomplishment of the act.
Mens Rea: General intent crimes
Require intent to perform an act
NY and the Model Penal code definitions of mens rea: Purposely, knowingly, recklessly, negligently
Purposely - act with conscious object to engage in the conduct
Knowingly - aware that conduct will lead to the crime being committed
Recklessly - acts with conscious disregard of substantial and unjustifiable risk
Negligently - should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk.
Mens rea: strict liability crimes
No mens rea required.
Most crimes involve threatening public's health or safety or inherent dangerousness.
Mistake as a defense to mens rea
Mistake of fact - Must be an honest mistake. Not available for strict liability crimes. May be an unreasonable mistake for specific intent crimes, Must be reasonable for general intent and malice crimes.
Mistake of law - ignorance of law a defense only when there is reliance on decision of a court or an honestly held mistake of law negates the specific intent requirement.