Criminal Law

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Most Common Defense and Criminal Law Issues

What Is Criminal Law?

Criminal law deals exclusively with the crimes and punishments of people. A crime is any act or behavior that society has decided should be punished by imprisonment, fine or both. The rules for criminal law vary depending on whether the charge is a felony or misdemeanor, and whether the case is held in state or federal court.

Felonies and Misdemeanors

Most crimes are divided into two main categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Generally:

They are also divided by whom the crime affects into the categories of malum in se and malum prohibitum.

Federal vs. State Prosecution

The rules change depending on whether the crime is charged in State or Federal Court. Most criminal matters are dealt with in state courts unless:

Criminal Law Proceedings

Although the rules often vary, most criminal proceedings include the following steps:

Accused of a Crime?

If you are accused of a crime, you should speak to a lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.

Victims of a Crime?

If you are a victim of a crime, you should call the police. If there is sufficient evidence, the police will then forward your case to the District Attorney's office to prosecute the person who committed the crime against you.

Vea esta página en español: Leyes de Criminal o visita para más información legal.

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Last Modified: 11-18-2016 11:16 AM PST

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