Criminal law is abroad category of law that focuses on protecting individuals and/or their property from harm. It’s however worth pointing out that one of the interesting things about the American justice system is that different jurisdictions actually have varying classifications on what constitutes a crime and whether the act is punishable under the law.
It’s always therefore a good idea for citizens to be well conversant with acts that are likely to be considered as criminal acts within their jurisdiction so as to avoid finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.
In this article we are going to look at the 3 major categories of crime in criminal law.
An infraction is essentially what is often referred to as a petty offense and in most cases carries just a small fine and no jail time. In an unlikely event that the accused person gets jail time, then such a sentence will be very short from between a couple of days to a few months. The crimes that will often be considered as infractions are petty theft, disorderly conduct and DUI, among other minor offenses.
A misdemeanor offense which often involves crimes considered to be immoral is a more serious type of offense in criminal law and will mostly carry either a fine or an imprisonment, or both. If it’s an imprisonment, it will often be at a local county jail. Such crimes include theft, aggravated assault, gross indecency, stalking and deception, among others. It’s never a good idea to get charged with misdemeanors because they often go on your record and may affect your professional reputation.
In criminal law, a felony is considered as a very grave offense and will often be punishable through a prison sentence of not less than one year or very hefty fine, or even both. Such crimes will include terrorism, abduction, kidnaping, robbery, rape and arson, among others. A significant number of states will apply the three-strike law when it comes to felonies, which recommends that any individual convicted of a third felony gets an automatic life sentence.
Criminal offences will generally not carry the same blanket punishment for individuals and instead, the severity of the punishment will often be customized depending on whether a person is a repeat offender, the nature of the offense and the jurisdiction in which the crime was committed. It’s therefore a good idea for any citizen going to a new state to familiarize themselves with the law of the land.