Criminal Law Explained For Anyone

Criminal law is the set of rules that the government has decided on, setting forth acts that are considered dangerous to human life as opposed to civil law, which is generally less violent and dangerous. These would include threats of harm, bodily injury and lewd sexual acts. It determines not only the crime but also the punishment. In many cases, the punishment is decided upon in a way that fits the crime that was committed. In other cases, the punishment is already mandated by state or federal law. Civil matters and white collar crimes are handled by separate divisions.

The enforcement of these laws is done at the state level. At one time, both penal and civil law were considered together but today they are separate and distinct. Crimes of this violent and offensive nature are separated because they hold very serious consequences when the law is broken.

Each different type of crime has its own unique characteristics, elements that separate it from other crimes. The most serious of crimes will be punished by death or capital punishment. Physical punishment, like caning, has been prohibited in much of the world, although it is still practiced in some places.

Generally, even for these very serious crimes, the punishment is incarceration or jail time. The increments of time served in jail will depend on the crime and can be anywhere from an hour to a lifetime. The sentence will always depend on the crime.

Some judges will hand down a sentence that allows parole or probation. Parole is when the government allows a convicted felon to live outside the prison after they have served a satisfactory amount of time behind bars. They would then be on probation, which is the supervision that the government will keep over the ex-inmate until such time as they are deemed fit to live among normal society without being watched for criminal activities.

Many times there will be fines imposed for acts of crime. People can have their homes and property seized to pay for these fines, even if they are serving time in prison, as well.

There are five objectives to enforcing these laws. They are retribution, incapacitation, restitution, rehabilitation and deterrence. The main objective is left up to the differing opinions of the community governments and judges that pass down sentences. They will determine which one fits the particular situation. Retribution is usually the main objective. It stands for making the criminal pay for his actions. They have committed their crime and they must pay for it in some way. This is the eye for an eye effect.

Incapacitation is a goal for judges who need to keep this person away from everyone else so that they can no longer be a threat. This usually consists of jail time or death. Restitution is taking from them and giving to their victims or government, usually monetarily through fines. Rehabilitation is often encouraged in civil matters but it is generally accepted that violent criminals will have a difficult time with it. The final of these objectives of criminal law is deterrence. This can be done on an individual or group level. Deterrence focuses on imposing fees or other penalties on someone or a group of people in order to keep others from committing the same act.

A pardon [] is the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it. Find out how to obtain Canadian pardons [] and U.S. Entry Waivers.