For most individuals, familiarity with our criminal justice system comes from television, drama serials, books, and movies. However, when we involve ourselves in the criminal law system, we’ll require more information and assistance as unavoidable issues may arise quickly. Unlike breaking traffic rules, criminal cases such as homicide or theft lead to incarceration and leave ever-lasting consequences on a person’s life. There are two types of laws in the United States- criminal law and civil law. Criminal law deals with behaviors considered an offense against the public, state, or society even though a person is a part of a group or an individual. It is a body of state and federal rules that prohibit actions the government considers as harmful.
In short, if an individual engages in activities that the governing body considers harmful, they will be guilty of committing a crime. That said, criminal prosecutions usually occur in criminal court. Someone found guilty of committing a crime might end up paying heavy fines or might also lose their privileges and freedom by going to prison.
However, there are two main types of criminal laws, felonies and misdemeanors. Let’s take a detailed look into the five primarysubcategories of criminal laws that everyone should know about.
Homicide is the unlawful killing of an individual. Homicide is a violent felony and usually results in harsh punishment if a person is guilty of committing such a crime. Homicide ranges from non-intentional killings like manslaughter to intentional killings that include serial murders.
You can further divide manslaughter and murder into two different degrees- For murder, first-degree and second-degree murder. And for manslaughter, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
When found guilty of homicide, individuals will usually receive the following punishments, depending on the severity; Imprisonment, loss of rights, capital punishment, or the death penalty. If laws centered around criminals fascinate you, it would be best if you’d consider acquiring a criminology degree online to know more about homicide and other basic crimes and laws in general.
Kidnapping is the act of carrying away or confining a person by force or deception without their will. Furthermore, Any act that includes holding someone for ransom, forcing the kidnapped individual to commit a felony, or using them as a human shield is an act of kidnapping. According to state and federal law, kidnapping is a felony. However, felony classification varies from state to state.
If someone is found guilty of kidnapping an individual, they might face heavy fines, penalties-typically ranging from 5000 dollars or above- and around 10 to 20 years in prison. Furthermore, the guilty party will have to pay restitution to the kidnapping victim for any losses that might have incurred. Moreover, convicted individuals might also lose their professional license and their right to vote.
Assault and Battery
According to criminal law, assault refers to the act of placing an individual in an instance of imminent offensive contact or bodily harm. Some examples of assault include; mimicking kicking, punching, or hitting a person, pointing an unloaded or loaded weapon on someone, spitting on someone, etc. On the other hand, battery is the unauthorized application of deadly force on a person’s body, which results in physical injury.
A way to remember the difference between the two is assault requires a person to reasonably believe that there is imminent danger, even if no harm occurs. In contrast, battery requires actual physical contact or use of force. The government classifies assault and battery under a single category. Usually, it results in fines ranging from 100 dollars to 5000 dollars and a minimum of one year in county jail. That said, punishments depend on the severity of the assault and battery charge.
In simple words, theft refers to the act of taking away someone’s else property without their consent. However, according to criminal law, there are a few different types of thefts. Plus, the level of punishment depends on the severity of the theft charges. For instance, stealing a candy bar from a convenience store results in lesser penalties, while stealing someone’s car with a deadly weapon results in more severe charges.
According to state and federal law, the act of stealing low-value items is known as the petty theft category, while stealing a high-value article is known as grand theft or grand larceny. The level of punishment depends on various things, such as your criminal history, the severity of the crime, the value of the stolen item or items, and weapon usage.
Moreover, repeat offenders will be subjected to more severe punishments than first-timers. For example, in Michigan, if someone steals an item worth 150 dollars, they’ll be subject to a small fine and 93 days in prison. However, if they steal a high-value item, let’s say a piece of jewelry worth 1000 dollars, they will have to pay a fine three times the item’s value and spend a year in prison. For property or items above 20,000 dollars in value, expect to pay up to 15,000 dollars in fines and ten years in prison.
Rape occurs when an individual forcibly engages in sexual intercourse with another individual without their consent. However, statutory rape is an ongoing issue in the United States these days. Statutory rape occurs when an individual forcibly engages in sexual intercourse with a minor. Even if a minor gives consent and participates in sexual activities with someone over the age of consent, the law still considers it statutory rape as the minor doesn’t have permission to give his or her consent.
That said, if both individuals are over the age of consent, the younger person can press charges, and the older person will go to jail for the charge of rape. Punishment usually includes jail time, depending on the severity, while some states in the USA allow shorter prison sentences for criminals who agree to chemical castration.
Criminal law is sometimes confusing, and every country and state has its definition of criminal law. So, you should get in touch with a skilled criminal lawyer if you want to know more. If you are a victim of a wrongful accusation, an experienced criminal defense attorney will help you understand your rights and what constitutes a crime.