The criminal law divides crime into distinct categories, such as infraction, a felony, and misdemeanor. Remember though that the state legislatures and Congress make the decisions on classifying crimes. The determination usually involves evaluating the seriousness of the crime and its impact towards its victims and society. With that said, the crimes that suit into each category may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
To help you better understand criminal law, here are three of the different classifications of crimes.
The acts classified as infractions are usually called violations. These are petty offenses that are punishable by small fines and they do not result in a jail sentence or probation. Those who have been charged with this type of crime can employ an attorney, but the government does not need to appoint one. The most common acts that fall under infraction are traffic offenses, such as speeding or running a red light.
Committing these criminal acts may result to up to a year in prison. Punishments may also include paying a hefty fine, community service, probation, and restitution. The defendant who cannot afford to hire a lawyer is entitled to legal representation at the government’s expense.
Here are some of the common misdemeanor crimes:
Trespassing: This is the act of intruding a property without the owner’s consent. This is different from burglary since it doesn’t require the act of stealing or damaging anything from the said property.
Vandalism: This is the destruction of another individual’s property.
Public intoxication: This is when a person gets drunk in public. A person can get arrested for public intoxication if he manifests unruly behavior.
Crimes under this category are considered serious criminal offenses. These crimes usually result in serious physical harm towards its victims. You have to understand that misdemeanor crimes can become a felony, especially when an individual gets arrested for the same crime more than once.
The punishment for felonies can range from one-year imprisonment to life in prison without parole.
Here are a few of the criminal offenses that constitute a felony.
Assault and Battery: If the consequences of assault are severe enough, it may lead to a felony charge. This crime occurs when an individual threatens physical violence, causing harm. This usually occurs with the use of a weapon, such as a knife or gun. Battery, on the other hand, occurs when a person actually causes another individual harm.
Sexual Assault: This act usually involves forcing another person to perform sexual activities without their consent.
Murder: This is also known as a homicide. This is when a person kills another individual.