Criminal law is an area of law involving the enforcement of a person’s criminal actions. Criminal law is the body of civil law that involves criminal activity. It applies to acts performed within the course of a person’s private life. It is a body of laws that involves punishment for criminal acts, property crimes, mayhem, felonies, and more. Criminal law also includes lesser included offenses such as arson, fraud, child pornography, sex crimes, kidnapping, RICO (Racketeer Influenced Business Criminality), and more. Criminal defense lawyers defend clients who have been charged with criminal conduct.
The federal government and many state governments have created crime laws that criminal law attorneys to protect their clients from prosecution for criminal acts. The United States Constitution grants the power of law enforcement officials to arrest, detain, and imprison any individual they believe has committed a crime, unless evidence of the person’s guilt can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Federal offenses include: murder, kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, conspiracy, burglary, carjacking, assault and battery, arson, torture, sexual abuse and other criminal acts.
Violating a criminal law statue can result in several serious legal penalties. Misdemeanors are less severe criminal acts. A misdemeanor is a charge that is neither a felony nor under a capital offense. Misdemeanors are considered a minor offense that does not warrant a trial. Misdemeanors usually result in reduced fines, probation, community service, probation, or incarceration.
Felonies are major offenses. They include: murder, manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, vehicle theft, arson, torture, sexual abuse and other offenses. These crimes are punished by the harshest punishments under the law. Capital offenses are punishable by the death penalty. Because some crimes carry more severe penalties than others, all criminal offenses, including misdemeanors, judgments, and sentences are reported to the government agencies where they will be used for future prosecution, if the case goes to trial or to be placed on a list for potential future charges.
The punishment phase of the criminal law system works under two types of systems. Systemic sentencing applies to crimes that are major offenses. The sentence is permanent. Non-systemic sentencing applies to crimes that are less than major offenses and that are not permanent. The punishment may be probation, parole, or instruction in community service.
Criminal defense attorneys provide information on how the criminal law system applies to their clients and on what type of defenses are available to their clients. Criminal defense attorneys help their clients to prepare for their criminal case, to build their defense, and to obtain the best possible outcome in their cases. In some cases the state or federal government is seeking compensation for personal injury or loss as a result of a defendant’s criminal activity. These cases may involve negligence or breach of contract claims. An experienced criminal defense attorney can discuss these options and the laws that apply in these cases with their client, find any relevant state or local legislation that applies to their client’s situation, and determine the best strategy to pursue for justice and compensation.