What is Criminal Law?


There are many different areas of law- one of them being Criminal Law. This governs the prohibited conduct in society. You see, there are rules that citizens of the state must abide by. Whenever these rules are broken, then that person (or persons) create or commit certain crimes.

A defense attorney may be needed in the event that criminal charges are filed against you. If you are unable to get your own, the court will be able to provide you with one as it is needed for you to have a fair trial.

What Constitutes a ‘Crime’?

An act, in and of itself, is actually not considered a crime. Even if government officials would deem your behavior as something that may result in a crime, the behavior itself is not deemed as a “criminal act”.

Whenever the person commits a crime, it will usually result in a person’s freedom being on the line. When a person is sentenced for committing one, the penalties for such are different depending on the resulting offense.

A criminal offense, aside from jail time, may include other penalties such as probation, paying a fine, or placing a record of the offense committed by the suspect in their public criminal history.

What is Felony and Misdemeanor?

You might have heard of the terms ‘felony’ and ‘misdemeanor’ before. Well, a felony is typically a crime where the maximum possible penalty would result in a person being imprisoned for more than a year. The criminal may either be put in a local jail or in a state jail depending on the severity of the crime that was committed.

On the other hand, an act is known as a ‘misdemeanor’ if its maximum penalty is jail time that is less than a year. There are some states that would penalize misdemeanor cases that do not require the possibility of jail time, but rather, compensated through probation or community service.

Different Stages in a Criminal Law Case

To start a criminal case, it would begin by filing some formal charges. As to what the crimes can be charged to the person or suspected individual, it will be up to the authorities or the attorney.

Although the police conduct the initial arrest, they are not the ones who will file charges against the suspect, but rather it is the duty of the attorney to do so.

Once the charges have been filed, an arraignment is in order. This is basically the first court appearance. Depending on the court, either a magistrate or a judge will read to the accused, the charges that are filed against them. The judge will also be the one to set a bond amount and the underlying conditions of it.

If serious cases are filed against the suspect, the court may hold them without bond until the resolution of the case.

In the suspect’s defense, they are given enough time to gather all of the information that they need to hopefully win the case. The defense may also request the court for the people who’ve filed the charges to come up with pieces of evidence to support their claim.