The main argument of this article is that only a clear conception of the purpose of punishment can orient the debate about the positioning of the fault requirement and strict liability doctrine in criminal law. A categorization of the varieties of strict liability offenses, as well as an adequate model for normatively appraising the legitimacy of these deviations from the principle of culpability, should be based on a systematic analysis of criminal law’s role and function in society. As is argued, the original purpose of criminal law consists in the stabilization of norms by means of punishment. Taking up that finding, this work provides a detailed view of the distinct mechanism of placing blame, allowing for the presentation of a clear scheme for categorizing and appraising the variety of strict liability offenses. It is stated that offenses substantively deviating from the standard mechanism of placing blame can potentially result in over-punishment, which is dysfunctional and not justifiable. Properly placing blame is essential for the appropriate fulfillment of criminal law’s purpose in society. Therefore, the claim of the principle of culpability and critiques of strict liability doctrine find their basis not only in considerations of fairness, but also social necessity. By presenting a systematic categorization of strict liability offenses, this research offers a clear approach to a frequently discussed doctrine and establishes new arguments against its legitimacy.

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