The simplest way to describe criminal law is to say that it’s a legal aspect conceived to prosecute and punish threatening, harmful or endangering behavior. This behavior can be threatening to the safety, health or property, as well as the moral welfare of people. The process is supposed to entail the prosecution, punishment and even rehabilitation of those who prosecute the law. It is an end-to-end system that, although flawed, serves a valuable purpose of maintaining the safety of our civilization. Here are five things you need to know about criminal law.
Types of criminal law
The two main types of criminal law are felony and misdemeanor. While both are subject to criminal law, it’s important to start by saying that a misdemeanor is a lot more serious than a felony. Therefore, it also brings lighter repercussions. The procedures are also vastly different. The list of crimes that fall under these categories is extensive, but here are several examples to help you grasp the concept. Examples of a misdemeanor are shoplifting, driving under the influence or vandalism. Felonies are things like murder, kidnapping, robbery, sexual battery or embezzlement.
Difference between criminal and civil law
Another thing worth mentioning is the difference between criminal and civil law. In theory, the biggest difference is whether the crime is an injury to an injured party (civil) or a potential hazard to the entire society (criminal). For instance, a breach of a contract would fall under civil law, while murder is a textbook example of something that falls under the category of criminal law. Also, in criminal law, the party is prosecuted on behalf of the state or government. Civil law involves cases between private parties.
A lawyer is necessary even for a misdemeanor
One of the biggest misconceptions of people facing misdemeanor charges is that they can represent themselves. According to a professional Law Firm from Novi Sad, this is never a good idea. Misdemeanor convictions may still bring serious penalties, and this is something that you want to avoid at all costs. Second, public defenders are not as efficient. While they may be capable and compassionate, chances are that they already have their plate full. This is why a client may not receive their full attention. Lastly, they lack the resources to provide each of their clients with the treatment that they deserve.
What is a criminal procedure?
The next thing worth keeping in mind is that the prosecution is not the only thing covered under the specifications of criminal law. The criminal procedure is just as important. The arrest under the controlled conditions and a fair procedure. Criminal trials, as well as sentencing, are pivotal elements of this system. In order for the entire justice system to function properly, each of these stages needs to be handled carefully and lawfully. A huge factor here is criminal rights like search and seizure, Miranda rights and the right to legal counsel. In the case of juvenile justice, things get even more complex.
Fair treatment of the person under these criminal charges is guaranteed under constitutional limits. There are four major rights that are there to ensure that everyone gets a fair trial. First, there’s the right to an attorney. Second, everyone has the right not to incriminate themselves. Third, everyone has the right to a speedy and public trial. Lastly, if things don’t go the way the prosecuted party expected them to, they have a right to the appeal. Other than these, every state may provide a couple of additional rights.
Knowing not to break the law seems intuitive to a lot of people; however, there are scenarios in which you don’t have the necessary level of control to avoid some of the worst repercussions of your actions. So, when you land in legal trouble either by choice or by accident, it’s important that you understand the nature of this trouble. It’s also important that you understand your way out of this problem. Finding the right legal assistance is generally the right way to go.