- What Happens When A Person is Charged With A Crime? – Certain constitutional protections apply to a person charged with a crime.
- The Criminal Process: How it Works – The criminal process typically begins with a stop or an arrest.
- When the Victim of Identity Theft is Your Employee – All across America, the fastest-growing white-collar crime in the nation has been identified as “identity theft” — and it’s affecting individuals and employers alike in insidious ways.
- Bureau of Justice Assistance
Free legal information about criminal law and procedures
What is Criminal Law?
Criminal law is the area of law that deals with those who commit crimes. Crimes are generally defined as deviant behavior that violates social norms. What is considered a social norm and what is considered deviant behavior is determined both at the federal level and the state level, as are the punishments for various crimes.
Punishments for crimes vary based on the severity of the crime that was committed and where the crime was committed. In the United States, crimes are classified in two main categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are serious crimes that are generally punishable by a year or more in prison (e.g., armed robbery, murder). Misdemeanors are less serious crimes that are generally punishable by less than a year in prison (e.g., petty theft, vandalism).
- The right to an attorney
- The right to not incriminate oneself
- The right to a speedy and public trial
- The right to an appeal
Consequences for those convicted of a crime can change a person’s life forever affecting career choices, educational opportunities and personal liberties. For this reason, it is a good idea to have a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side if you have been accused of committing a crime. A criminal defense attorney can not only help you understand your rights, but make sure those rights are protected.