Criminal law is a special kind of law that deals with offences deemed as crime. This is aimed at providing predetermined punishment for its breakers.
Therefore, to prevent people from breaking these laws, statutes have been put in place. Anyone who fails to obey these statutes is guilty of a criminal offence. If you take another step and compare it with civil law, other features of this law arise once again.
In civil law, the aim is to settle disputes and reconcile the parties accordingly. There is no room for depriving one’s freedoms in the end. But in criminal law, the guilty loses certain rights or may even be imprisoned!
Therefore, while civil law is aimed at conflict resolution, criminal law takes a decisive action by protecting society from the acts of the perpetrators and giving them specific punishments.
Objectives of the law
The biggest question you will start with is, of what use is this law? In other words, what objectives govern its implementation? The first objective recognizes that a wrong has been committed. Therefore, to provide some retribution to the offended party, some form of punishment is specified in the law.
A simple phrase is one which says ‘tit for tat’ or ‘an eye for an eye.’ The second objective is to reform the law breaker. Others call it rehabilitation. But this is aimed at helping the victim to set the mindset right.
The third one is aimed at preventing the offender from committing the same offence in future. Additionally, the fourth objective is quite interesting. It is there to serve a warning to all aspiring criminal law breakers. Once they see the example, they will stop such acts.
Finally, the fifth objective which is popular as pointed out in the introduction is that the law breaker must be removed from society. This is aimed at ensuring that the public is not harmed by this law breaker and his criminality.
Types of criminal law
Criminal law has only two types – a misdemeanor and a felony. A misdemeanor is a mild criminal offence committed by an individual. Such an offence can easily be resolved with a fine or some single year imprisonment.
On the other hand, a felony is a more serious offence. It will carry more than the minimum imprisonment period of a misdemeanor. Additionally, this can even involve capital punishment. Here is more information on the difference between misdemeanors and felonies.
When a person is guilty of committing a misdemeanor, then he might have committed some traffic offence, assault, or some other minor criminal case. But the one guilty of a felony has committed some serious offence like murder, rape, and robbery – especially aggravated robbery.
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