Criminal Law is a branch of crime. It treats the nature of the crime and provides punishments to it accordingly. These punishments can be imprisonment and paying fines. There is a specific behavior dictated by the Law and if that is violated, it leads to punishments and sanctions. Any offense which is committed against the law is known as a crime.
TYPES OF CRIMES
The different types of crimes are:
Felony is considered to be the most serious crime committed in Criminal Law. This crime is also classified as mala in se crime, which is the plural of malum in se. These mala in se crimes are wrong criminal acts that breaches and violates the public and even principles and morals of the society. For example carrying a gun to a children’s school is highly dangerous and this is an offense to the society or in this case to the violations of the school. Although mala in se crimes are punishable by death, that is one who commits this crime is always sentenced to and punished to death, now days the punishment of this crime is not as severe. However the accused still faces serious sentences.
The term felony originates from the French medieval word ‘felonie’. During which time these were crimes which involved confiscating or taking a person’s goods and lands by force. Felony is a crime which is considered to be a crime of high seriousness.
A felony crime can be either violent or non-violent. A violent crime is which a person forces or threatens another. This kind threat and forcefulness can result in some major injuries and even murder. This crime includes robbery, rape, domestic violence, murder, first and second degree murder and voluntary and non-voluntary murder.
A non-violent crime is a felony crime that involves a non-physical injury to another. That is no harm is done to the person bodily or physically. This kind of crime includes property damage, breaking and entering into the house and damaging it, fraud and financial injury. That is cheating someone by taking their money and fleeing. These acts are treated with leniency. A non-violent crime is often committed by a person who has some psychological problems.
A person convicted of a felony crime at a court is known as a convict or a felon. In the US felony crimes are treated with punishment of imprisonment for more than one year and punishment of death.
CLASSES OF FELONY
All states have divided crimes into felonies and misdemeanor. Felony represents the most serious offenses that are punishable by a one year or more sentence and paying significant fines. Each state has different classes of felony. Some states rely on alphabets while other states rely on numbers. No matter which classes are used numbers or alphabets, the lower the number or alphabet the more serious situation of the crime. For instance, Alaska classified the felonies into alphabetical order; class a, class B and class C. While Colorado has classified the felonies into numerical level; class 1, class 2 and class 3. In Kentucky there are four classes of felony, relying on alphabets. Class D felonies are crimes of less seriousness such as marijuana distribution. While class A has the most serious crimes falling into its category such as a rape of a child or a woman.
There are some states and jurisdictions that do not follow any classifications of the felony. They do not follow a level system. They apply a hybrid approach. Federal level has 43 levels and not classes of felony.
CLASS A FELONY
It is the highest degree of felony. The most serious crime or felony comes into this category. These are reserved for crimes such as treason or murder. If a person commits this felony he is sentenced to death or lifetime imprisonment. Of course what class a felony means in one country can be considered completely different in another country. This classification of class depends on the Law of each state.
CLASS B FELONY
These are the second most serious crimes. These crimes include:
Manslaughter is crime or a homicide that occurs in the heat of passion. That is to kill a person without having any intentions to murder him/her.
Arson is destruction of properties. Arson means to deliberately and with cruel intentions set fire to vehicles, buildings, dumpsters, houses and wild land areas.
Robbery means a theft by force. That is taking a person’s belongings with the intention of depriving him of that property for the rest of his life.
4. AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT:
It means to cause serious bodily harm to another person with a deadly weapon. It is a sexual assault that wounds, disfigures or maims a person. That person is mostly mentally incapacitated. Rape is also considered as a sexual assault.
5. DRUGS POSSESSION:
If you are found with any drugs you have committed a class b felony. Any possession of drug illegally or without any prescriptions can be a felony. Possession of marijuana, heroin, ecstasy and cocaine is a crime.
WHEN DOES A CRIME BECOME A FELONY?
• Sexual assault or harassment.
• Beating and striking a person.
• Yielding a deadly weapon on another person.
• Rape and kidnapping.
• Possession of drugs.
• Property destruction.
• Fraud, cheating and financial injury.
• Causing physical pain such as permanent disfigurement.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE CASE:
Once a person has been committed of a felony, he will be called at court. The court will then begin the cases proceedings. The district Attorney has to prove every elements of the crime. He should provide evidence against the person he has accused of committing a felony. The court will then decide depending on the following evidence:
• Did the defendant intentionally threaten the victim to cause him fear?
• What kind of a weapon was used on the victim?
• Had the accused concealed his identity?
• Was his intention to cause some serious injury?
• And where did the victim belong to? Was the victim a police officer? A school employee or a vulnerable person?
After all these evidence have been given to the court the judge will then consider some facts and give his decisions. He/she will see whether the accused has accepted of the felony he has been accused of committing. The judge also takes notice of both the accused and the victim’s behavior throughout the proceeding of the case. The judge will look for any criminal history of the accused and the kind of weapon he used. These are some of the factors the judge considers before giving out his verdict.
PUNISHMENTS AND PENALTIES
The penalties and punishments depend upon the country where you have committed the crime. It depends upon that country’s law. In most jurisdictions the minimum punishment is one year in prison. You can pay fines too in place of imprisonment.
You will be recommended a sentence or a fine depending on the kind of felony you have committed. And also depends on your criminal history if you have any. The judge can also give you a lesser penalty if there are any extenuating circumstances. However if you have committed some serious crime such as rape of a child the court will not be as lenient. A penalty in different jurisdictions includes:
• Wisconsin: 60 years in prison.
• Connecticut: 20 years in prison. And the fine to pay is up to 15000 Dollars.
• Federal: not more than 25 years in prison.
• Washington: fine to pay is up to 20000 pounds and the imprisonment is for 10 years.
It is not only the fines and imprisonment you will have to go through. There are some benefits and rights which you will be deprived of when convicted of felony.
• Run for estate of office
• Driving license
• You will face unemployment.
• People will hesitate to trust you with rents.
• Own a firearm.
• Serve on a jury.
DEFENSES OF THE FELONS
If you are convicted of a felony you will need legal help. It is the right of every citizen to hire a defense attorney. You will be faced with serious jail time and your freedom will be in jeopardy. You are entitled to a lawyer who will fight your case in front of the judge. The lawyers will provide you advice on defenses.
The defenses of a felon are also heard by the judge during the case proceedings. These defenses may either be true or false and is for the judge to decide. The defendants have the following defenses;
• It was the other way around; the victim had been the one who had confronted him.
• The victim was the one who had been yielding the weapon. And was the first one to strike.
• The defendant had been defending himself from the attack. This had resulted in the crime.
• The defendant’s actions were accidental and unintentional.
Some attorneys of the defendants even argue that the accused has some psychological problem and that it was not in his power to control it.