Criminal Law and Criminal Defense Lawyers
Criminal law is a body of rules referring to crime.
They regulate social behavior and they condemn any actions that threaten, harm or endanger people’s safety, health, or moral welfare, at the same time foreseeing punishments for those responsible for such actions.
The difference between criminal and civil law is that, in the case of the latter, the accent falls on solving the dispute and on compensating the victim rather than on punishing the crime.
The Five Objectives of Criminal Law
- Retribution – It refers to the fact that any criminal has to be punished for taking illegal advantage of other individuals. This way, the law’s purpose is “righting the balance” between the two parts involved in the incident.
- Deterrence – It refers to applying the proper punishment to every offender, with the purpose of discouraging him from committing any further crimes. By deterring offenders, the law also sets an example for the other citizens who may be thinking of committing similar offenses.
- Incapacitation – It involves keeping criminals away from law abiding citizens, in order to protect the latter category from any harm that the former category may bring to them. This task is usually accomplished by dictating prison sentences.
- Rehabilitation – It is another main objective of criminal law, aiming to convert the criminals who are imprisoned into law abiding citizens.
- Restoration – It refers to the law’s purpose to repair any injury caused by the offender to his victim.
Different Types of Crimes
Categorizing different types of crimes may be a little difficult, given the complexity of the criminal justice system, but the two main groups that have to be mentioned are: personal crimes and property crimes.
- 1. Personal crimes – offenses against individuals, these are the type of crimes that lead to physical or psychological trauma, like:
- Sexual assault;
- False imprisonment;
- Any offense of a sexual nature.
- 2. Property Crimes – offenses against property, they include an individual’s interference with the right of another one to use or to enjoy a certain property. These crimes do not necessarily involve harming another individual. We can include here:
- Stolen goods;
- False pretense.
Understand your rights and the penalties you could be facing.
Sub-Categories for the Different Types of Crimes
In many states, the law divides personal crimes in other two categories: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. Some states have a separate category, for sexual crimes.
The property crimes that involve residential houses are placed into a different category – crimes against habitation.
The statutory crimes deal with a statue violation and can include personal offenses or property offenses. For example, selling alcohol to a minor or driving under the influence of alcohol fall into the category of the statutory crimes.
Crimes can also be classified according to the criminal intent, such as specific intent crimes and general intent crimes, and, according to the level of seriousness, like misdemeanor and felony.
Importance of Criminal Attorneys
A criminal defense lawyer is the attorney assigned from the office or hired by an individual to defend him when he is charged with criminal behavior. He is a vital player in the legal system nowadays, his role being to make sure that the innocent individuals are punished and those that are guilty are exempted from unfair punishment.
Those who are accused of criminal acts have better chances to obtain the minimum penalty or even a lighter sentence than the one they qualify for, if they ask for the help of a criminal attorney. Such a professional usually has years of training and experience in the field, as well as all the knowledge and skills to sustain any case related to criminal law. He is important because:
- He knows all the rules and regulations applicable and can use them to protect his client’s rights;
- He can involve expert witnesses to make any case stronger;
- He can check any physical evidence;
- He can negotiate a good deal;
- He can file an appeals;
- He can prepare and manage any paperwork;
- He can identify legal loopholes.
Criminal law involves many types of crimes and a huge network of laws. Its main purpose is to punish guilty people and, through the punishment, to turn them into law abiding citizens, for the society’s safety and welfare.