What Is Criminal Law?

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What Is Criminal Law?

Criminal law is a major branch of law that deals with violations of criminal statutes. These will be different from state to state, and there are also federal laws that govern criminal activities. Crimes may be defined as conduct that is considered dangerous to the community and may be punishable by a sentence in jail or prison. This is different from civil liability, which usually only involves civil fines. Also, criminal violations are prosecuted by the state, whereas civil conflicts occur between two or more private parties.

What Are Some Different Types of Crimes?

There are many different types of crimes. Some of the broader categories of crimes include property crimes, theft crimes, white collar crimes, DUI and alcohol-related crimes, and violent crimes.

Crimes may also be categorized according to their degree of severity. The two major divisions in criminal law are misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are punishable by a slight criminal fine and some time in jail (usually 1 year maximum).

Examples of felonies include assault and battery and most alcohol-related charges. Felony charges are punishable by several years in a prison facility, along with higher monetary fines. Examples include homicide charges, burglary, and kidnapping.

What Is a Criminal Defense?

Criminal defenses may be raised depending on the facts of the circumstances. Most crimes require an intentional act on the part of the defendant. Therefore, any condition that negates the person’s intent may serve as a defense. For instance, if the person was intoxicated, it may serve as a defense for their conduct.

Another defense is that of self-defense. This is a common defense for cases where the defendant acted in response to an aggressor’s act of violence. Various other defenses such as duress or coercion may apply. A lawyer is generally required in order to determine which defenses may be available.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Criminal Laws and Statutes?

Criminal laws can often be difficult to understand. It is highly recommended that a person obtain their own criminal attorney when facing criminal charges. A qualified criminal lawyer can help provide the legal advice that is necessary for a successful defense. Also, an experienced attorney can keep the person informed of any major developments in their particular case.

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Last Modified: 06-24-2014 04:34 PM PDT

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