Criminal Law Definition- What is criminal law?

Updated: Apr 18



If you’re a fan of crime stories TV shows like How to Get Away with Murder and Law and Order, I am sure you already heard the “criminal law” many times. And as real criminal defense attorney Nashville, I can say that criminal law is more than the drama and thrill you see on screen. So today, let me discuss to you criminal law definition.

Criminal Law Definition- What is criminal law?


Criminal Law, in general, is a body of laws which covers criminal acts together with related actions like charges, penalties, convictions, and trial. A person can commit a crime if he breaks the law. Criminal law implementation can take back your rights and put you to prison.

What is the purpose of criminal law?

The society created criminal law to administer justice and secure the members of society. Aside from criminal law, society installs standards who people should behave which are taught by school, family, and religion. All these should work together for a peaceful and safe community. Criminal Law definition and purpose has three aspects. It is one for the protection of the offender. The society used to apple eye for an eye law or law of retaliation. If someone killed your friend, you should take their life too and the cycle goes on. Through criminal law, offenders are given proper trial and appropriate penalties without the aggrieved party committing another crime. The second purpose is to punish the guilty. Justice is served in different forms like paying damages and spending time in jail. Criminal allows the victim to get retribution. Lastly, it is to protect the community taking back offenders’ freedom to do wrongful or further criminal acts that will hurt others.

What Are Types or Examples of Criminal Law?


Types and Examples of Criminal Law

1. Misdemeanor criminal offense - These are considered minor offenses which have low level of seriousness and lesser degree of charges. Punishments for these kinds of crime are low fines and maximum of one-year imprisonment. Misdemeanor includes shoplifting, Driving Under Influence arrest (when no one is severely hurt or died), intoxication in public, vandalism, trespassing, and simple theft.

2. Felony criminal offense - These are severe crimes which inflicted serious damage to property, loss of huge amount of money, physical injury or worse death of a person. Felony is punishable with high degree penalties like lifetime imprisonment or even death penalty. Examples of felony crimes are arson, battery, tax evasion, kidnapping, rape, treason, forgery, and many more.

Furthermore, crimes can be divided into four major categories:

1. Personal Crimes - Crimes which intend to hurt another individual like assault or murder.

2. Property Crimes - Also known as “offenses against property” which is intervening in someone’s freedom or right to enjoy his property. Examples are arson, burglary, robbery, and forgery.

3. Inchoate Crimes - Inchoate means incomplete. These are crimes which are planned and already begun but were not able to be completed. It is more than intending to commit a crime but starting it already. These were attempted crimes like attempted rape.

4. Statutory Crimes - They are violations of specific federal or state stature which can harm property and individuals. Examples are DUI or drunk driving and selling alcohol to minors.

Do you have any more questions about Criminal Law Definition? Feel free to comment them below.

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