Actus Reus Legal Meaning and Definition

Here is a simplified definition of the legal term Actus Reus.

Actus Reus (noun)

Definition: Actus Reus, Latin for "guilty act," refers to the physical act or illegal conduct that a person must commit to be charged with a criminal offense. It is a principle of criminal law indicating the overt, external action or behavior that forms part of a crime, as opposed to the internal intention or state of mind (mens rea).

Example in a sentence: An Actus Reus can range from a violent action, like a physical assault, to a state of affairs where the law is being violated, such as owning illegal substances.