Homicide: Murder and Manslaughter We hear the word “murder” used in a lot of situations: “This job is murder!” Environmental activists sometimes refer to the “murder” of animals or even trees. But, under the law, it is not murder to kill an animal, a tree, or any living thing except a human being. A person cannot murder a kitten, no matter how cute the kitten nor how mean the human.
Attempted Murder Of all the crimes punished by society, none are more serious than the crime of murder, the intentional and unlawful taking of a human life. Apart from the federal crimes of espionage and treason, murder is the only crime for which the death penalty is a potential punishment, though only in some states.
Felony Murder Felony murder is a legal rule that expands the definition of murder. It applies when someone commits a certain kind of felony and someone else dies in the course of it. It doesn’t matter whether the death was intentional or accidental—the defendant is liable for it.
Vehicular Manslaughter: Sentencing, Laws and Penalties Drivers who unintentionally cause accidents that result in the deaths of passengers, occupants of other cars, or pedestrians may find themselves charged with the crime of vehicular manslaughter.
False Imprisonment The idea of personal freedom is closely related to the belief that you can travel where you choose without being restrained by someone else. When someone else restrains you or prevents you from moving, this is punishable as a crime, known as false imprisonment.
Kidnapping Kidnapping began as a crime which involved forcibly abducting someone and carrying him or her to a different country. Today, kidnapping occurs when someone forcibly abducts or confines another person against his or her will.
Harassment and Cyberbullying as Crimes Harassment crimes include stalking, bullying, hate crimes and more. The penalties for a conviction can be severe.
Unlawful Restraint The ability to go where you please, when you please, is one of the most widely cherished liberties in modern society, and one that forms the basis for what most people think of when they think of the word “freedom.”
Defending Against an Accusation of StalkingStalking is a serious crime that can be a felony or misdemeanor. All 50 states have criminal laws against stalking.
Criminal ThreatsEven though the Constitution guarantees the right of free speech, that right is not an absolute one. The law has long recognized specific limitations when it comes to speech, such as prohibitions against slander and libel.
Intimidating a Witness Interfering with a witness’s testimony or cooperation in a criminal case is a criminal act that can be misdemeanor or a felony. Intimidating or tampering with a witness involves trying to get a witness to lie, say certain things under oath, alter or destroy evidence, or not testify or cooperate with
Felony “Menacing” Charges Menacing can refer to a few different crimes, all of which share the following characteristics: the defendant has placed the victim in fear of imminent (immediate) bodily harm or unwanted physical contact, or has attempted or threatened to hurt the victim. Usually, no injury or physical contact is required.
Extortion: Laws, Penalties and SentencingThough states provide a wide range of penalties for extortion, the crime is most often punished as a felony offense.
The Crime of MayhemThe everyday use of the word mayhem has evolved pretty far from its original, legal definition. In the legal context, “mayhem” doesn’t denote a kind of rowdy disorder, but rather force causing serious and gruesome injury. Leave My Subjects Whole Mayhem is an old version of the word maim. The crime
What’s the difference among aiding, abetting, and being an accessory to a crime? One kind of accessory that never makes you look better is a criminal charge as an accessory to a crime. Aiding and abetting are similar and related charges to being an accessory. This article discusses the crimes of aiding, abetting, and acting as an accessory to a crime.
Assault and Battery
Assault With a Deadly WeaponAssault with a deadly weapon is a felony offense regardless of the actual injuries caused to the victim.
Simple and Aggravated Assault Laws and Penalties Assault is a crime of violence, which is defined differently from one state to another. Learn more about how assault is defined in general, and about the assault laws in your state.
The Human Body: A Deadly Weapon? Use of a deadly or dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime is often an aggravating circumstance that can increase punishment.
Falsely Accused of Assault: Steps to Protecting Yourself The legal definition of assault means intentionally making another person feel that they are about to be physically harmed. No actual physical injury is needed to establish assault. An individual
Elder Abuse Elder abuse may always be charged under general criminal statutes, such as assault. Many states have also enacted special laws targeting elder abuse. These laws often provide for harsher punishment.
Nursing Home Abuse Neglect and outright mistreatment is common in nursing homes. Federal and state laws empower residents, family, and friends to do something about it.
What should I do if I think my elderly neighbor is being abused by caregivers? Although it’s a delicate situation, you can follow-up on your observations by speaking directly with your neighbor or contacting a state agency whose mission is to investigate and stop elder abuse.
Hate Crimes: Laws and Penalties Hate crimes, or bias-motivated crimes, are crimes committed because the victim is a member of a certain group, such as a racial or religious minority. Today, 45 states and the District of Columbia have laws against hate crimes.
Do Hate Crime Laws Violate the First Amendment? Hate crimes, sometimes called bias-motivated crimes, are crimes committed because of the victim’s race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
How Do Prosecutors Prove Hate Crimes? The defendant’s actions, words, and affiliations often supplies the best evidence of his state of mind when committing a crime–including a hate crime.
Harassment & Stalking
Harassment and Cyber bullying as CrimesHarassment crimes include stalking, bullying, hate crimes and more. The penalties for a conviction can be severe.
Defending Against an Accusation of Stalking Stalking is a serious crime that can be a felony or misdemeanor. All 50 states have criminal laws against stalking.
Federal Stalking and Harassment Laws When harassing or stalking behavior involves the Internet, U.S. mail, or activities that cross state lines, the crime may be charged as a federal offense.
Bullying and Cyberbullying
Teen Cyberbullying and Harassment Teenage bullying is not new, and can now be accomplished using cell phones and social media. Many states have passed specific laws aimed at teens who bully or harass other teens online.
Can a Victim of Cyberbullying Sue for Future Damages?Read more about what types of injuries and damages a cyberbullying civil suit can encompass.