Criminal Law in Detail


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Crimes are offenses against the state, government, or society in whole. When the defendants are arrested for committing a crime, they can appoint their own attorney, or the state will appoint an attorney if they cannot afford to pay for one themselves. Criminal law is applied for criminal acts.

What is Criminal Law?

Criminal law is the body of law applied to punish those who commit criminal acts. It varies based on jurisdiction and legislative statutes establish criminal acts and punishments for those acts. The penalties for criminal law involve the forfeiture of one’s rights and imprisonment. The importance of criminal law is to prevent the occurrence of crime, to rehabilitate the perpetrator, to provide a penalty for the act, and to prevent further crimes.

Criminal Law Types

The two types of criminal laws are misdemeanors and felonies.

Misdemeanor: A low seriousness crimes like minor assaults, traffic offenses, public intoxication, reckless driving, disorderly conduct, petty theft, trespassing, and more come under a misdemeanor. The punishment for this type of offenses ranges from fines and loss of privileges up to a year in prison.

Felonies: Serious offenses come under felonies. It includes offenses like dealing drugs, manslaughter, murder, robbery, rape, arson, fraud, kidnapping, treason, and more. In every state in the US, the punishment can be death or imprisonment for more than one year, depending upon the nature of the offense and the jurisdiction where the felony crime was committed.

Elements to Define a Crime

There are four main elements in criminal law and it must be proven to convict a defendant of an alleged crime.

Actus Reus: In Latin, it means “guilty act”. It means that the defendant must be voluntarily engaged in the act which is any voluntary or involuntary bodily movement. For a crime, there needs to be an act.

Mens Rea: It means “guilty mind” in Latin. It is important to prove a person’s intent to commit a crime to establish liability. If the defendant feels guilty of the crime, he can be held liable. This helps to know whether the defendant intentionally committed a crime or not. Mens Rea is all about the intention of the defendant.

Concurrence: Both the intention to commit a crime and voluntary criminal act must be present and proven in concurrence. There are two types of concurrence. They are Temporal and Motivational. Both actus reus and mens rea coincide in case of temporal concurrence. In motivational concurrence, mens rea occurs first followed by the actus reus.

Causation: There is a relationship between the act and the resulting crime. It does not create liability and not applicable for intended yet incompleted criminal acts.

Criminal Defence Attorneys

Criminal Defense attorneys can help the defendants to help during the trial. They plead guilty for the defendant if he/she accepts the crime and may use certain laws to reduce the punishment during the prosecution. They use affirmative defense to protect the defendant from severe punishment. If you are looking for an attorney in Georgia.


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