Criminal law addresses the government’s prosecution of individuals who have committed an act classified as a crime. Federal, state, and local governments categorize crime and prosecute criminals. This is the nature and purpose of law. Without laws, people wouldn’t know what to do. The rule of law is the belief that an orderly society must be governed by established principles (laws) and applied fairly to all of its members (basically stating that no one is above the law). For example, if the President decided that he wanted to rob a bank, he would be punished just like everyone else. There are five types of law: criminal law, civil law, administrative law, case law, and procedural law. Civil law is the branch of modern law that governs relationships between parties. Procedural law is the part of the law that specifies the methods to be used in enforcing substantive law. Administrative law is the body of regulations that governments create to control the activities of industry, business, and people. Case law is a legal principle that ensures that previous judicial decisions are authoritatively considered and incorporated into future cases. General categories of crime include: felonies, misdemeanors, offenses, treason and espionage, and inchoate offenses. Felonies are serious crimes (murder, rape, robbery, etc.) they are punishable by death or by being imprisoned for at least a year. Misdemeanors are minor crimes like petty theft (theft of items of little value), simple assault, etc. They are punishable by a year in prison or less, or by a fine or community service. Offenses (also known as infractions) are less serious than misdemeanors like jaywalking, littering, not putting on a seatbelt, etc. They are punishable by a fine. Treason is a U.S. citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the U.S. Espionage, similar to treason is an offense that can be committed by...
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