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What Is Criminal Law?

by Zach Stevens

Criminal law is the area of law associated with those who commit crimes and their criminal prosecution. It covers a wide range of offenses, from minor infractions such as disorderly conduct to major felonies such as murder.

In general, criminal law is designed to protect society from criminal behavior. It does this by issuing criminal law penalties on those who break the law and thereby deterring others from doing so.

Criminal law is also designed to provide justice for victims of crime. This includes ensuring that offenders are punished and that they make restitution to their victims.

Criminal law is complex, and it can be difficult to navigate without the help of an experienced criminal attorney. If you have been charged with a crime, or if you are under investigation for one, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you, and he or she can help you build a strong defense.

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What is the Difference Between Criminal Law and Civil Law?

Criminal and civil law are two separate and distinct legal systems. Criminal law deals with criminal offenses, while civil law deals with disputes between individuals or organizations.

Criminal law is governed by criminal statutes, which are laws that define what constitutes a crime and how it should be punished. In contrast, civil law is governed by civil codes, which are laws that provide a set of rules for private disputes between individuals or organizations.

So, while civil and criminal law can be similar, they are distinct legal areas.

What Are the Objectives of Criminal Law?

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The objectives of criminal law are to protect society from criminal acts, to punish offenders and to deter others from committing crimes.

Criminal law is designed to protect the public by punishing offenders and deterring others from committing criminal acts. The criminal justice system is used to enforce criminal law.

What Is the Structure of Criminal Law?

The criminal justice system is made up of law enforcement, the courts and corrections.

Law enforcement is responsible for investigating crimes and arresting offenders. The courts are responsible for prosecuting offenders and imposing sentences. Corrections is responsible for supervising offenders who have been sentenced to prison, probation or parole.

Criminal attorneys like our attorneys in Idaho Falls play an important role in the criminal justice system. They represent defendants in criminal cases and work to protect their rights. Criminal attorneys also represent victims of crime.

What are the 4 Types of Criminal Law?

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There are four main types of criminal law:


These are less serious crimes that are punishable by a fine or up to one year in jail. Misdemeanors can also include probation, court-ordered community service and/or mandatory AA/NA meetings.

Examples of misdemeanor crimes include:


These are more serious crimes that are punishable by more than one year in jail. A felony conviction can also result in the loss of certain rights, such as the right to vote or own a firearm.

Examples of felony crimes include:

  • Murder
  • Armed robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Burglary
  • Sexual assault
  • Grand theft
  • Aggravated assault

Inchoate Offenses

These are crimes that are in the early stages of being committed, but have not yet been completed. Inchoate offenses can be charged along with the underlying crime.

Examples of inchoate offenses include:

  • Conspiracy
  • Solicitation
  • Attempt
  • Facilitation
  • Misprision (def: the deliberate concealment of one’s knowledge of a treasonable act or a felony.)
  • Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)

Punishments for inchoate offenses can range from a slap on the wrist to life in prison, depending on the severity of the crime.

Strict Liability Offenses

A strict liability offense is one in which the criminal act does not need to be accompanied by any criminal intent. These offenses are typically regulatory crimes, such as those involving alcohol, drugs, environmental pollution, and food and drug safety.

For example, it is a strict liability offense to sell alcohol to a minor, even if the seller did not know that the person was underage.

Strict liability offenses are not serious crimes, and the punishments for them are typically fines or short prison sentences.

How To Win a Criminal Case In Court

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While a criminal trial may be tried in court, the vast majority of them are resolved through plea bargains between the prosecutor and the defendant. In a plea bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a lighter sentence.

For example, a defendant who is charged with first-degree murder may agree to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a shorter prison sentence. Or, a defendant who is charged with a drug offense may agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for probation and drug treatment.

In some cases, the prosecutor may agree to drop certain charges altogether in exchange for a guilty plea to a lesser charge.

Criminal attorneys can help investigate the case, interview witnesses and review evidence to help build a strong defense. They can also help negotiate plea bargains with prosecutors and represent defendants in court.

If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to consult with a criminal attorney as soon as possible. An experienced criminal attorney will be able to tell you what to expect and help you protect your rights.

MZJ — Criminal Attorneys

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If you have been charged with a crime, you need a criminal attorney. MZJ are criminal attorneys who can help investigate your case, interview witnesses and review evidence. We can also help negotiate plea bargains and represent you in court.

Criminal Defense

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