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Understanding Criminal Law Criminal law is a system of set laws that deal with punishment of people who commit crimes. It is a body of legislation that apply to criminal activities which occur when an individual fails to stick to a particular criminal decree. Penal laws ensure safety and harmony of the society by ensuring that people behave in the required manner that does not put in danger the health, security and things that the citizens own. Committing a criminal offense results in imprisonment and denial of an individual’s rights dissimilar to civil laws where the verdict is compounded by monetary terms that the offender has to pay. Individual states may come up with own criminal laws apart from the federal criminal laws that are the same in the whole country. In the olden days, people did not differentiate criminal laws from the civil ones. The Norman invasion of England led to the differentiation. The doctrinal notion of God’s sentence that inflicted only for a non-innocent mentality that first became principle law and ultimately secular penal law is the one that brought up the notion of criminal punishment. The court began to punish visibly criminals on behalf of the state in the 18th century when countries in the Europe started to keep the police service. The penal law has hereafter become a distinct unit due to the formalized mechanisms for compliance with the law. The two categories of criminal law are felonies and misdemeanors. A misdemeanor is an unlawful offense of lower level such as shoplifting and not adhering to traffic rules. Typically, one will be imprisoned for one year or less for misdemeanor crime. Felony, on the other hand, involves more serious offenses, such as murder, rape, robbery, and assault among others. Felony results to stiffer penalties, like one year or more imprisonment, depending on the nature of the offense. Objectives of criminal laws include punishments, retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, restoration and incapacitation.
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The mental state of a person when doing a criminal activity is one of the two sections of criminal law and is known as the guilty mind. It is the crime’s mental aspect. It is the driving force behind one’s actions. The second part is the guilty act or the ‘actus reus’ that are the actions by the offender. This is the tangible and material phase of carrying out a criminal act. It may include the deed, not acting where you are supposed to or threatening to act. The verdict of the case is given by looking at the deeds.
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It is, therefore, important to understand criminal law so that you can live well with others. You will be familiar with your rights and will keep you on the right side of the law. The above discussion gives you basic know-how that you may find useful.