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What Is a Personal Crime?

A personal crime is often characterized as a violent crime that results in physical, emotional, or psychological harm to the victim. Depending on state or federal laws, personal crimes are punishable as both felonies and misdemeanors. If you are accused of committing a personal crime, a criminal justice lawyer may be required to properly advise you of your rights. The following are the most common types of personal crimes:

Assault and Battery – Although "assault" and "battery" are two distinct personal crimes with separate elements, many states merge the two into the one crime of "assault and battery." Most states consider an assault and battery to be the attempt or actual physical striking of another or an act that is so threatening it puts the other person in fear of immediate harm.

Child Abuse – A Personal crime that includes physical, psychological or emotional harm, sexual exploitation or neglect of a child or children under the age of 18. Child abuse can be an act or a failure to act that results in actual harm or even the threat of harm.

Homicide – A personal crime that includes, but not limited to, 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, manslaughter and felony murder. Homicide can be intentional or unintentional and is defined by the defendant’s state or mind, governed by state or federal law.

Sexual Abuse – A personal crime often referred to as molestation. It is defined as the unwanted touching of another, in a sexual manner, without consent. Sexual abuse can be carried out either by the threat of harm or the actual use of force.

Should I Seek Legal Help?

Personal crimes are serious in nature and the consequences can be severe. However, there are many defenses and exceptions to personal crimes that could either exonerate you or convince the prosecution to charge you with a lesser offense. If you have been criminally charged with a personal crime you should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. They will evaluate your case and provide you with the best possible defense.

Photo of page author Nicole Shoener

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 01-11-2016 09:43 AM PST

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