Criminal law is a complex system of laws and rules that define criminal acts, set punishments, and outline the rules guiding the process from investigation and arrest to sentencing and parole.
The area of criminal law primarily concerns those accused of, or convicted for, committing a crime. Criminal law is a complex system of laws (typically called statutes and ordinances) and procedures (such as rules of court procedure and evidence) that define criminal acts, set punishments, and outline the rules guiding the criminal process from investigation and arrest to sentencing and parole.
The U.S. Constitution and each state’s constitution set limits on what the government can and can’t do when it comes to criminal laws and procedures. Courts interpret how statutes and rules of procedure are applied in a criminal case, as well as if these laws violate constitutional limits. Court decisions (case law) provide fur
What Is a Crime?
A crime is wrongful conduct which is prohibited by law and may be punished by a loss of liberty (incarceration). State and federal lawmakers define crimes and their punishments in statute.
Should I Speak to an Attorney If Charged With a Crime?
Yes. If you’ve been accused of committing a crime, you should speak a criminal defense attorney who can help you understand and protect your rights and develop a strong defense for your case. An attorney can also explain any immediate or future consequences of decisions you make, such as talking to the police, pleading guilty, and testifying at trial.
Consequences for those charged with, or convicted of, a crime can change a person’s life forever. And these consequences extend far beyond arrest, trial, incarceration, and supervision. A criminal record can affect employment and educational opportunities, family relationships and stability, personal liberties, and more.