Mens rea is determined by the defendant’s state of mind or intention. It is coupled with the actual act to constitute a crime. During criminal trials, proof of mens rea will be required to make a determination. Cases that fall within strict and absolute liability will not require proof of mens rea.
Mens rea can be determined through subjective or objective procedures. A subjective intent is determined based on the defendant's perspective. The defendant’s thoughts, desires, plans, and level of awareness are considered.
An objective intent is determined based on the quality of the defendant’s state of mind. The quality of the defendant’s behavior is determined based on established standards of a reasonable individual. Thus, the judge and jury will rely on the perspective of a reasonable person.