What is Criminal Law?

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.

What is Criminal Law

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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Selecting a Criminal Defense Attorney

Selecting a Criminal Defense Attorney

One of the hardest challenges we possibly have to deal with in any criminal case is selecting a criminal defense attorney. For starters, many people often underestimate the gravity of their cases and would only give some thought to choosing a criminal defense attorney only when it is clear the ruling may be against their favor.

However, experts advise that regardless of how trivial your case may appear to be, choosing a criminal defense attorney is always a wise decision so in this article, we shall discuss some of the factors to consider when choosing such an attorney.

Are They Specialized in Civil or Criminal Cases?

It is important to begin by understanding the nature of charges preferred against you as defense attorneys are often specialized in that regard. Your case could either be a civil or a criminal one. A civil case refers to one brought against you by an individual or a company while a criminal case refers to one that is brought against you by a local, state or a federal government.

Understanding the expertise of a defense attorney with regards to either of these two cases will already give you a head start when approaching the case.

Are They Specialized in State or Federal Law?

Another major area of specialization is with regards to state or federal law and studying the nature of your case with regards to either of these will help you select the best defense attorney for your case. As a general rule, state law refers to cases such as broken contracts, robberies, family law, traffic violations etc while federal law refers to cases such as constitutional violations for which your country is party, copyright infringement and intellectual property cases, patent cases etc.

Evidently federal cases require a more experienced attorney as they are considered more serious and in the event of a conviction, could have you spend many years behind bars.

Are They Specialized In Your Specific Case?

As a general rule, you should always look for a criminal defense attorney who concentrates his practice in a given area of defense that you require. Naturally, you will find many criminal lawyers who handle routine criminal defense cases but a specialized defense attorney is always a cut above the rest.

Do you need defense in a rape case? Is it a violence or burglary case? Are you a protagonist in a family feud or are you the main suspect in a homicide? These and many more are the kinds of questions you will need to settle with before selecting a lawyer specialized in the specific are.

What Is Your Financial Position?

Litigations are capital-intensive and as such, you need to be adequately prepared in terms of finances. In case you cannot afford the often high fees charged by defense attorneys, you may be entitled to a public defender. This is a defense attorney specialized in helping people with meager resources.

However, you need to be aware that as they also have limited time and resources to allocate to your case, they may not always be the best. This means that at all cost, you should try to consolidate some resources and ensure you hire a professional defense attorney if you are serious about increasing your chances of having the ruling made in your favor.