New York Consolidated Laws, Penal Law - PEN § 15.15 Construction of statutes with respect to culpability requirements

1. When the commission of an offense defined in this chapter, or some element of an offense, requires a particular culpable mental state, such mental state is ordinarily designated in the statute defining the offense by use of the terms “intentionally,” “knowingly,” “recklessly” or “criminal negligence,” or by use of terms, such as “with intent to defraud” and “knowing it to be false,” describing a specific kind of intent or knowledge.  When one and only one of such terms appears in a statute defining an offense, it is presumed to apply to every element of the offense unless an intent to limit its application clearly appears.

2. Although no culpable mental state is expressly designated in a statute defining an offense, a culpable mental state may nevertheless be required for the commission of such offense, or with respect to some or all of the material elements thereof, if the proscribed conduct necessarily involves such culpable mental state.  A statute defining a crime, unless clearly indicating a legislative intent to impose strict liability, should be construed as defining a crime of mental culpability.  This subdivision applies to offenses defined both in and outside this chapter.

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