Overview of Criminal Law

Criminal law.  When the government prosecutes a person for an act that has been classified as a crime. In criminal cases the defendant is represented by a criminal defense lawyer or a criminal defense attorney, while a criminal prosecutor is trying to prove the defendant’s  guilt. People who are convicted of a crime may have a few different consequences, including being incarcerated, fined  or possibly even both.
A “crime” is an act that is in violation of a public law, either forbidding or commanding it. Local, state, and federal governments establish most laws that are in the United States, with few exceptions of some common laws. Criminal laws very drastically from state to state, but the MPC (Model Penal Code) helps people to understand the basic structure of criminal liability. It is crucial to understand that an act is only a crime if it has been established as one by either a statute or common law.
There are two types of crimes, which are known as felonies and misdemeanors. A felony is the more serious offense, a few examples of this include murder and rape. A misdemeanor is the lesser offense and include crimes like petty theft and jaywalking. Felony crimes are often punishable by imprisonment, often with a sentence of a year or more. Misdemeanor crimes are often sentenced to less than a year of imprisonment.
Criminal act is broken down into various elements. In most cases, the crime will consist of two elements, which are the act and the mental state. It is the prosecutors job to prove each of these elements in the court of law in order for them to successfully convict the individual of the crime. The prosecutor also has to persuade the jury or the judge “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the criminal act constitutes a crime and does indeed need to be charged. A criminal defense lawyer is also present in the courtroom and his job is to persuade the judge or jury that the defendant did not intentionally commit the crime. The criminal defense lawyer must at least show that the evidence does not prove “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Many people are involved in criminal cases, from start to finish. A few examples of these people include the accused, police officers, prosecuting attorneys, bail bondsmen, criminal defense attorney, judges, witnesses, probation officers, and corrections officers. Every person who is being charged with a crime is entitled to a criminal defense attorney and the right to a speedy trial. These rights are derived from the U.S. Constitution, and are in place to provide a balance between the government identifying and punishing a criminal, and the need to promote individual freedoms which characterize a democratic society.
The outcome of any criminal case depends on the crime charged, the evidence presented, and courtroom procedure. In some cases the charges may be dismissed, and in other cases there might be a full-fledged jury trial, which may result in a criminal conviction.

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