Criminal law is a branch of law that relates to crime. Criminal Law treats the nature of the crime and provides punishment such as a fine or imprisonment. This Law dictates a standard behavior which when violated leads to sanctions and punishments. An offense committed against the public, is regarded as a crime.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CIVIL LAW AND CRIMINAL LAW
Law can be described as either Civil Law or Criminal Law. Civil Law deals with disputes and problems between private parties. These disputes can be about heritage; wills, money, contracts, personal injury or over property. The rights and duties of the civilians are under the Civil Law. These disputes are taken to court. The punishments in Civil law are not as crucial as in Criminal Law. When dealing with a crime, the presence of both the parties are not necessary. Their appointed lawyers can deal with the proceedings.
Criminal Law deals with issues that arise amongst the public by an individual or a group. It addresses pleas, trials, accusation and normally occurs when an arrest has been made due to suspicion of criminal activity. This crime is registered under an FIR; First Informed Report to the police and then the proceedings start. During these proceedings, both the victim and accused has to be present. The state deals with the criminal violations.
TYPES OF CRIMES
The different types of crimes are:
Assault is a type of crime which one does intentionally to another person. Assault can also be any bodily or physical harm. That is threatening a person physical harm without that persons consent. It can be considered under either Civil Law or Criminal Law.
Aggravated Assault is a stronger form of assault. That is, threatening or causing bodily harm using a weapon. Aggravated assault can be committed if a person:
• Is having sexual relations with an under aged person.
• Causes bodily harm; kidnapping and raping.
• Cause bodily harm to another with a weapon; knife, gun, baseball bat.
• Attempts to harm a body of the law; police, officers, public servants.
Misdemeanor is a criminal offense which is less serious then assault or felony. This crime includes a breaking and entering, trespassing, prostitution, drunk driving, possession of drugs or heroine and petty theft. The punishment is also lenient. A person who is convicted of misdemeanor is punished with community service, loss of privileges such as public offices, driving license, spending part time in jail and also a fine.
The most serious crime committed in Criminal Law is Felony. Felony is a crime that is also classified as mala in se crime. Mala in se crime is the plural of malum in se; these are wrong criminal acts as the breach and violate the public, moral and principles of the society. Before mala in se crimes were punishable by death, but now days the punishment is not as severe as before although the accused still faces serious sentences.
This type of crime can be either non-violent or violent. A violent crime is a crime in which a person threatens or forces another person that can result in major injuries or murder. It can include rape, murder, robbery, threats, domestic violence and first and second degree murder, involuntary and non voluntary murder.
A non violent crime is a type of felony that involves non physical injury to another. This can be fraud, property damage or financial injury. Theses felonies are treated with leniency.
CLASSES OF FELONY
Each state has different classes of felony. 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.
• The most serious of the felony is class 1 or class A. this class if committed sentences the felon to lifetime imprisonment.
• Class B felony is less serious than class A. it includes a less prison time such as a year or two in prison.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FELONY AND MISDEMEANOR
The difference between a felony and misdemeanor is important to know. The major differences between these two crimes are:
• A person who commits a misdemeanor is known as misdemeanants.
• A person who has committed a felony is known as a felon.
• If you have been charged with misdemeanor, then the punishment is less severe. The charged person has to spend a couple of months or a year at prison.
The punishment in a felony assault is more serious. The punishment depends upon the severity of the situation. A more serious crime can put a person in prison for years.
• A misdemeanor case or proceedings take place in county facilities or local facilities. These facilities are close to home.
A felony sentence takes place in a state facility that is far from the homes of the individuals.
• The punishments in misdemeanor include fine, confiscation of driving license, community services.
Felony punishment includes three classes. According to the crime committed and what class crime it is the punishment is therefore carried out. Imprisonment for one year, three years and twenty five years can be sentenced depending on the severity of the crime. The most serious punishment a felon can get is a death sentence. The felon might also get a life time imprisonment.
WHEN DOES A CRIME BECOME A FELONY?
• Shooting a person with a gun, or any dangerous object.
• Beating or striking a person.
• Causing physical pain such as permanent disfigurement.
• Sexual harassment or raping.
• Harm to a police officer, social worker, disabled or an elderly person.
PROCEEDINGS OF A FELONY CASE
In order for a person to be convicted of felony assault, the district attorney has to prove every elements or aspects of the crime. He should provide evidence against the accused. The evidence should prove the following:
• 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?
DEFENSES OF THE FELONS
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 had been the first one to strike.
• The defendant had been defending himself from the attack.
• The defendant’s actions were 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.
FACTORS THAT A JUDGE CONSIDER
The Judge considers the defendant present and sees whether the defendant has taken full responsibility for his actions. The judge also checks the kind of weapon used on the victim and the extent of the victim’s injury. The judge also considers the relationship between the defendant and the victim. He also notes down the behaviors of both the defendant and the victim. After hearing both sides of the stories the decision is left on the judge. The judge considers all the points thoroughly and then announces his verdict.