Elements of a Crime

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Elements of a Crime

 

(Russian, sostav prestupleniia), the aggregate of characteristics that, as provided for in criminal law, make a socially dangerous act a crime. If it can be established that the actual characteristics of a person’s action (or inaction) coincide with the elements of a crime as provided for by law, it is possible to classify the given criminal act, that is, to determine what crime has taken place. If a person’s act involves all the elements of a particular crime, the person may be subject to criminal prosecution. In Soviet law the commission of an act that coincides with all the elements of a particular crime is the sole basis for criminal liability. The elements of a crime comprise four groups of characteristics: the object of the crime, the subject of the crime, the objective aspect of the crime, and the subjective aspect of the crime (seeCRIME). If a single element is not present, a person’s actions do not constitute a crime, and the case must be unconditionally terminated at any stage of the proceedings.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.