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Model Penal Code and the Four Categories of the Culpable States of Mind (Reaction Paper Sample)


The Model Penal Code or MPC is used by many courts around the world. It is taught to law students and it is tested on the Bar Exam. The MPC was probably the most powerful in its approach to Mens Rea which is defined as the mental state that a defendant must possess to be guilty of a crime. It is a fundamental feature of criminal law. Sampsell-Jones, Ted (2013).
The Model Penal Code organizes and defines culpable states of mind into the following four hierarchical categories:
1). Acting Purposely- the defendant had an underlying conscious object to act. For example, if I told Professor Terra that I am going to get hammered drunk tonight and drive my car, that statement alone would be proof that I acted or was going to act purposely.
2). Acting Knowingly- Acting knowingly defines the defendant is practically certain that my conduct will cause a specific result. For example, if I drive my car drunk, then there is a good chance that I would get pulled over and get arrested for a DUI or I know that there would be a pretty good chance that I would kill myself or even worse I would kill someone else.
3). Acting Recklessly- Acting recklessly which defines that a defendant consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustified risk. For example, I know that if I drive drunk and everyone at the party tells me to not do it because I might kill my passengers, myself, or someone walking in a crosswalk and I drive drunk anyways... That would be a little reckless on my part.
4). Acting Negligently- Acting negligently defines a defendant was not aware of the risk but should have been aware of the risk. Legal Information Institute (N.D.). For example, If I get pulled for driving drunk and I happen to be from a country that allows drunk driving called Burkino Faso which is north of Ghana, Africa, I wouldn't be aware of the drunk driving laws in the US because I am from a different country but I should be aware however I was negligent because I did not research the drunk driving laws in the U.S. Reid, R. (2013).
1). Sampsell-Jones, Ted (2013) Mens Rea in Minnesota and the Model penal Code, Mitchell Law Review, vol 39 Iss. 5, pp. 1457-1479, retrieved from the Post University on-line data base at
2). Legal Information Institute (N.D.) Mens Rea, open access to law since 1992, retrieved from
3). Reid, R. (2013 May 17) 10 countries where its legal to drink and drive retrieved from


The Model Panel Code is designed by the United States to assist and stimulate the legislatures in updating and standardizing the penal law. In simple terms, I can define the Model Panel Code as a legal insanity’s test. It has provided legislation basis for more than two-thirds of the American States. I agree with my classmate that the MPC is a fundamental feature of criminal law since it has influenced greatly criminal courts. The Model Panel Code is also taught to students pursuing law and is tested on Bar Exam. Using standardized terms of Mens Rea or otherwise known as culpability, is one of the Model Pane Code’s major innovation (Sampsell, 2012). Culpable states of mind are defined and organized by the Model Penal Code into four categories and they are: purposely, knowingly, recklessly and negligently. I will further elaborate on these four categories in this paper.

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