What are the Different Types of Crimes?

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Find a Lawyer

What are the Different Types of Crimes?

It can be difficult to deal with criminal laws, since there are so many different types of crimes in the U.S criminal justice system.  One way to make sense of criminal laws is to categorize the different types of crimes into broad categories. 

In general, the different types of crimes may be divided into two major categories,  Personal Crimes and Property Crimes:

Most of the different types of crimes are covered in this list; however, some states may have individual laws that deal with variations of these criminal offenses.  Also, some crimes may involve both types of harm.  For example, robbery involves the theft of property that is obtained through physical force against the owner.

Are There Sub-Categories for the Different Types of Crimes?

Many state laws further divide the categories of crimes into subcategories.  For example, Offenses against the Person may be divided into the categories of “Violent Crimes” and “Non-Violent Crimes”.  Some states also place sexual crimes in their own category.   

For Offenses against the Property, crimes involving real property (such as a residential home) are often placed into the separate category of “Crimes against the Habitation”.

Statutory Crimes are concerned with a violation of a specific statute and can involve either property offenses or personal offense.  Examples include alcohol-related crimes such as drunk driving (DUI) and selling alcohol to a minor.

Crimes can also be classified according to the level of seriousness, such as the distinction between felony and misdemeanor charges.

Finally, crimes can also be divided according to criminal intent.  Some different types of intent categories are General Intent Crimes and Specific Intent Crimes.  These labels refer to the type of mind state that a defendant must have in order to be found guilty of a crime. 

What are “Inchoate” Crimes?

The word “Inchoate” roughly translates into “incomplete”.  Thus, inchoate crimes are crimes that were begun, but not completed by the suspect.  The most common form of inchoate crime is an attempted crime, such as attempted robbery or attempted battery. 

In order to be found guilty of attempting a crime, the defendant must have taken substantial steps toward the completion of the crime.  A mere intention to commit a crime is not enough to find a person guilty.   

Other inchoate crimes are solicitation, and conspiracy.

What are Part I and Part II Crimes?

Some jurisdictions use common law classifications for the different types of crimes.  These are divided into Part I and Part II crimes as follows:

Do I Need a Lawyer for Issues with Criminal Laws?

As you can see, criminal law involves a vast network of laws that cover nearly the entire scope of social behavior.  Furthermore, each state and individual jurisdiction may have unique or different criminal laws.  Thus, if you are facing criminal charges, it is often best to consult with a criminal lawyer.  Your lawyer will have an understanding regarding what are the different types of crimes, and can help provide you with a criminal defense. 

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 05-18-2012 11:27 AM PDT

Find the Right Lawyer Now

Did you find this article informative?

Link to this page

Law Library Disclaimer

What are the Different Types of Crimes?, crime,crimes,personal,property,law,criminal,law,violent,non-violent,sexual,statutory,intent,attempt,lawyer,attorney,part 1,part 2