Criminal law is the series of laws that govern crime and social behavior. They are the general rules of society that are designed to uphold the integrity of citizens and ensure that everyone is kept safe. They are the laws that are set up to punish the guilty and bring justice to victims. In basic definition criminal law is any law pertaining to crime. Crime is defined as any action or lack of action, that leads to breaking a law. There are federal and local laws, however, all crimes must be in regards to previously established laws.
How is criminal law different from civil law.
The best way to help differentiate between civil and criminal is to ask, is there potential jail time? Criminal law pertains to crimes that can be punished with jail time, or incarceration. Civil suits deal with legal disputes, usually pertaining to monetary matters. Suing over unpaid bills or unsatisfactory business dealings tend to be the predominant matters in civil cases. Another distinct difference is the fact that with civil suits the defendant initiates the case, whereas criminal law cases are initiated by the governing body’s prosecutor.
Criminal law penalties and crimes.
There are two distinct levels of crimes, felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are more series offenses, such as murder, arson, and assault. Misdemeanors are minor offenses, such as petty theft, jaywalking, and public intoxication. The punishments for the two classes have a severe difference. Felonies tend to result in larger costs and jail time that tends to run into years and lifetimes. Misdemeanors have a lot less expenses and little to no jail time. Jaywalking for example is not often an offense that lands a person in jail, and public intoxication tends to be only an overnight or weekend stay in holding areas. Each crime has a limitation on how severe the punishment can be, and the severity of the punishment is determined by all the factors involved. The two main aspects looked at are the crime itself and the mental state of the person who committed them. Crimes of passion, that were done in the heat of the moment, tend to be punished slightly less severe than those that are done with forethought. Though no two judges or juries will ever be alike. A person is entitled to try and represent themselves in court, but when it comes to matters regarding criminal law, it is best to have good legal representation.