Difference Between Criminal Law and Civil Law

In the US, there are two bodies of law whose purpose is to deter or punish serious wrongdoing or to compensate the victims of such wrongdoing. Criminal law deals with behavior that is or can be construed as an offense against the public, society, or the state—even if the immediate victim is an individual. Examples are murder, assault, theft,and drunken driving. Civil law deals with behavior that constitutes an injury to an individual or other private party, such as a corporation. Examples are defamation (including libel and slander), breach of…

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Crimes Against Persons

Crimes Against Persons

Fatal Offences 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,…

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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a form of abuse involving the use of physical aggression, or coercion that causes injury to  a spouse, partner, child or other family member. Here you will find a variety of information about domestic violence, including a general overview of domestic violence laws, state specific laws, and common questions and answers related to domestic violence. Domestic Violence Laws & Penalties Domestic Violence Laws and PenaltiesDomestic violence is a violent act committed against a person in a domestic relationship whom the law protects from assault, such as a…

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Sex Crimes

Sexual Offenses Rape Laws, Defenses and Penalties Rape is sexual intercourse that is forced on another without the person’s consent or against the person’s will. This act is criminalized throughout the United States, but the legal term for it varies from state to state. Date RapeSexual assault perpetrated by an acquaintance, such as a date, is still rape– the relationship of the victim and perpetrator do not define the crime. But issues of proof sometimes make the cases hard to prove. Sexual Assault Laws and PenaltiesThe term sexual assault, in…

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Drug Laws

An Overview of Drug Possession Laws Possession of a Controlled Substance: Drug Possession LawsWhat is a controlled substance? Learn about the penalties for drug possession and the laws in your state. Possession of Drug ParaphernaliaAlong with drug possession charges, possession of drug paraphernalia charges are one of the more commonly charged crimes in any jurisdiction. Read more to understand the legal definition, circumstances and penalties. Felony Drug PossessionPossessing “illegal drugs” may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, a more serious charge. The prosecutor’s choice will depend on the…

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Alcohol Related Crimes

Overview of Alcohol Related Crimes DUI Charges and PenaltiesAn overview of DUI (driving under the influence) offense classifications and possible consequences. Felony DUI: AlcoholDrunk driving is often referred to as driving under the influence of alcohol, or DUI, but can also be known as as driving while intoxicated, or DWI, or by similar terms. Felony DUI: DrugsDriving a vehicle is an inherently dangerous activity, and one that can lead to serious injury, damage, or death if not done properly. Driving becomes particularly dangerous when an intoxicated person gets behind the…

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Criminal Liability

In the U.S. legal system, a person may be punished for a crime only if she has been convicted of a crime, that is, found criminally liable. This article discusses what constitutes criminal liability. For a discussion of civil liability, see our article on Civil Liability. Crime A crime is an offense against the state, as defined by each state’s criminal laws. No act is a crime until it is recognized as such by society and written into the states’ and federal criminal codes. We may think certain acts have always…

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