Criminal intent includes a physical component and a mental component. According to JRank, the first one is known as the Actus Reyes or the physical act that is associating you with the criminal conduct. This is when you undertake some activity or fails to undertake an activity that is prohibited by the law. The physical act puts you in violation of the law.
Many laws statutes that prohibit this type of conduct go further than merely banning the act. It also requires that to be held guilty or violation of this law, you have to have some level of the intent behind your action. You had to have some degree of intention to do the act, or you had some degree of intent to achieve some outcome that is prohibited. For example, it may be illegal to knowingly take the property of another. So, if you were to accidentally pick up and walk off with someone else’s property, this may not violate the act because you had to take somebody else’s property intentionally. The interpretation may be that you had to know it was someone else’s property and that you did not mistake it for your own.
The physical act of walking off with the property would satisfy the Actus Reyes. The mental intent would have to be that you have to demonstrate that you knew it was somebody else’s property, and you picked it up and walked off with it. Now there are certain types of crimes that require the physical act and require no mental aspect behind your intent or purpose. These actions are commonly known as strict liability.