Characteristics of the Criminal Law Criminal behavior is behavior that goes against societies norms and the laws of the people. These laws are put in place to protect the people and their property. The laws are usually enforced by a law enforcement agency and punishment issued by a judicial system. There are several different characteristics that make up a body of law. Sutherland and Cressey (1974) states, “ the characteristics which distinguish the body of rules are therefore, political, specificity, uniformity, and penal sanction”(p. 11). However the basic rules are a great ideal but very seldom followed. The criminal law and the natural law of man are difficult to separate. The politically elected Government bodies that are selected and entrusted by the people create national laws to protect them and their property. The laws are usually a part of the countries constitution. These laws are interpreted by states and enforced by local government law agency.
The vast majority of the rules, which define certain behavior as crime, are found in constitutions, treaties, common law, enactments by the legislatures of the state and its subdivisions, and in judicial and administrative regulations. However, the criminal law is not merely a collection of written proscriptions. The agencies of enforcement are the police and the courts, and these agencies,’ rather than the legislature, determine what the law is. (Sutherland and Cressey 1974, p. 11)
So according to Sutherland and Cressey they support the theory that it is up to the although national governments create the laws it is up to the lower level government agencies to enforce and issue punishment. The four characteristics of criminality are the basis of what make most law systems work. Politics of law is seen as the most important and necessary element in criminal law. Specificity has to be implemented to define the differences in criminal law