The Basics of Criminal Law

A crime is a certain conduct that is dangerous for the citizens and may damage the society as a whole. Criminal law is the law that determines who is a criminal and what act may be called a crime and in which way people should be punished for the crimes they have committed. People may be punished either bay paying fines or by being imprisoned.

Criminal statutes are written by the federal state and local government legislatures and typically describe the type of conduct that constitutes a crime.

There are two main types of crimes: felonies and misdemeanors.

Felonies are serious crimes and some examples of them are:

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  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Arson
  • Armed robbery
  • Manslaughter


People who have committed felonies usually get imprisoned for a year or more or they may pay fines. Misdemeanors are considered to be a less serious type of crime than felonies and typically include crimes like:

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  • Simple assault
  • Speeding
  • Minor theft
  • Vandalism
  • Public intoxication
  • Trespassing


People who have committed misdemeanors are usually imprisoned for less than a year or have to pay monetary penalties, i.e. fines.

There is another type of offense which is called infraction. Traffic violations may be considered as infractions.

It should be noted that people charged with committing a certain crime have got some basic rights and those rights are:

  • The right to a speedy jury trial
  • The right to an attorney

These are the fundamental rights of any person who has been arrested. The criminal law also cares for the people who are charged for committing a crime. In the democratic society any person should be respected and the rights of anyone should be protected by the law.

As you can see there are different types of punishments that a person may receive. Following are the main types of punishment:

  • Fines

Fines are usually paid by the defendant if he/she has committed a misdemeanor. The amount of a fine is usually determined based wither on the state law or the judge’s decision.

  • Imprisonment

People are usually sent to jail or prison for serious crimes, such as felonies.

  • Probation

In the case of probation the criminal is given certain rules to obey. If he/she obeys them, he/she will not be sent to jail.

If you want to learn more about the criminal law, bookmark this websites for more articles.



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