THREE TYPES: Infractions- (like traffic tickets), which are minor violations and, usually, the punishment is having to pay a fine.
Felonies- are serious crimes like armed robbery, arson, carjacking, rape, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, drug dealing, and murder. This is only a partial list but the thing to remember about felonies is that you will have over one year in prison if convicted.
Misdemeanors- are lesser offenses like assault, reckless driving, drug possession (small quantity), and shoplifting. Misdemeanors usually result in jail time up to a year if convicted.
*Jail is usually run by the county and houses people serving misdemeanor sentences and waiting to have their felony or misdemeanor trial in that county. Prisons are usually run by the state and house people who have committed felonies.*
BURDEN OF PROOF-
The burden of proof in criminal cases is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This means the prosecutor must prove all of the elements of the crime. The jury will be told to find the defendant not guilty of the crime charged if the jurors think that the prosecutor has not proven all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
-Crimes are usually broken up into two pieces, did the defendant commit the criminal act (the actus reus) and did the defendant have the required mental state (the mens rea) at the time the defendant committed the crime.
There are some defenses that a person charged with a crime can bring up to try to negate either the actus reus, mens rea, or both. Types of defenses are: duress, infancy, insanity, intoxication, necessity and self-defense.
THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN CRIMINAL CASE- Principal (defendant) - the person who commits the crime Accomplice- a person who helps the principal commit the crime
Accessory before the fact- the person who gives the principal some information that enables the principal to commit the crime
Accessory after the fact- someone who