Criminal law is the entire body of law that relates specifically to criminal activity. It applies to all criminal acts in violation of a public law enacted in general terms. It includes crimes like assault, murder, arson, embezzlement, fraud, theft, kidnapping, and several other forms of criminal activity. It is also used to define the punishment for various criminal acts. Criminal law includes various components. It includes: criminal justice system, which are the branch of government operating the criminal law; state and local criminal justice systems; federal criminal justice system; appeals process and criminal law; prison system; correctional system; state laws relating to criminal activities; private criminal law systems; and Victims’ rights laws.
The major functions performed by the criminal process officers are the prevention, investigation, detection and charges of criminals, correction, and rehabilitation of criminal offenders. The main function of the state and local jurisdictions is to ensure fair trials and punishing those who commit criminal acts. The federal system is responsible for enforcing the criminal laws and implementing the provisions contained therein.
Criminal punishment imposed on one person by another depends on the characteristics of the crime, the nature of the act, and the effects that it will have on society at large. The criminal justice system is designed to ensure and give justice to the victims of criminal activities. Capital punishment as implemented by the states can range from minimal to maximum punishment. The jury sentencing as well as the judge’s power to impose capital punishment are derived from the nature of the crime and the role of the prosecuting attorneys. Capital punishment is imposed only upon serious offenses and those involving organized crime. Other crimes such as minor crimes are treated leniently and not punished with capital punishment.
Capital punishment as part of criminal law in the United States is limited to the most serious offenses under the penal code. Federal criminal law also has elements of rehabilitation and parole, probation, community service, and the use of extraordinary procedures. The statutes regarding these offenses are inclusive and provide the broadest scope of criminal punishment. Statutes regarding violent and non-violent offenses as well as those regarding sexual offenses are more stringent. These offenses require extended periods of incarceration as well as the providing of governmental assistance.
In addition to the elements of criminal law, the courts of civil law to provide justice to the victims of crimes as well as the accused. A person who commits a crime against another person may be subject to a claim for damages in civil court. This occurs when the state or someone else suffers physical harm or property damage as a result of the defendant’s action. The damages awarded by the courts to these victims are called compensatory damages and are intended to make the defendant pay for the damages they caused to others.
Statute of limitations plays a crucial role in criminal law. In the United States, the statute of limitations for criminal acts is generally six years. However, there are instances where the Statute of Limitations for a crime is reduced to three years or less. It should be noted that the courts treat different crimes with different statutory periods. Criminal actions have serious penalties and impose serious legal consequences.