Looking at the Types & Definitions of Criminal Law
When it comes to the judicial system, there are commonly two types of charges pending. Whether Civil Law or Criminal Law, the stakes are high. Our team of criminal defense attorneys in Philadelphia provides the representation needed for all clients faced with a criminal charge.
Let’s take a look at all the elements that define criminal law. On the outset, it’s a system of law that focuses on punishing offenders that commit criminal acts. Legislative statutes have been enacted to establish these acts and determine the extent of the punishments.
Based on jurisdiction, the types of criminal law vary. There are typically four main aspects of law-based crimes that must be proven to convict a defendant and prove the guilt of an alleged crime.
- Mens Rea is Latin for Guilty Mind. This is the mental element of a crime. When defending a case of an alleged criminal, it becomes necessary for a prosecutor to prove the person’s intent to commit a crime and establish liability. Most of the time, a defendant is only held liable for crimes committed with mens rea, meaning that a defendant intentionally committed the crime or acted knowingly in a way that resulted in a crime.
- Actus Reus is Latin for Guilty Act. This is the objective element of a crime. When a crime is committed, there needs to be an act, which is a voluntary or involuntary bodily movement. Omission, commission, and possession are all forms of acts, but in order to improve actus reus, a defendant must voluntarily engage in the act.
- Causation is proof of a causal relationship between the act and the crime. Causation alone will not create liability.
- Concurrence requires both the occurrence of actus reus and mens rea. In criminal law, this means that the intent of the crime and voluntary criminal action must be present and proven. There are two types of concurrence. Temporal concurrence is when mens rea and actus reus coincide. Motivational concurrence is when mens rea occurs first, motivating the actus reus.
Based on the charges present for defendants needing a crime defense lawyer, these crimes are typically placed into two main types: felony and misdemeanor. However, there are some other types of law that include criminal infractions, violations, petty offenses, and regulatory offenses.
A felony is a severe criminal offense. As defined by the United States courts, felonies are punishable by imprisonment for more than one year, and dependent upon severity, could result in death. Felony crimes include charges such as murder, manslaughter, burglary, battery, arson, aggravated assault, fraud, kidnapping, treason, blackmail, tax evasion, and more.
A misdemeanor is considered crimes not as serious as a felony with punishments that range from fines and loss of privileges, or up to one year in prison. These misdemeanor offenses include reckless driving, vandalism, petty theft, simple assault, trespassing, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and more.
As criminal defense attorneys, the task is to present the case to get clients charges dropped or the appropriate punishment for said crimes. The types of offenses are limitless in range and scope. However, of these felonies and misdemeanors, there are five broad categories to place the majority of crimes under.
- Property Crimes – cases involving interfering with another’s property.
- Personal Crimes – offenses resulting in the harm of another individual
- Statutory Crimes – offenses proscribed by a statue, often related to drugs, alcohol, traffic, or societal issues.
- Financial Crimes – often considered white collar crimes, these include embezzlement, fraud, deceptions like tax evasion or blackmail.
- Inchoate Crimes – criminal acts that were never fully completed or the defendant was assisting in a crime.
When you need representation for a criminal offense, contact the Law Offices of Richard J. Fuschino Jr. Let our team provide the representation you deserve.