The fundamentals of Criminal Law are the foundation for all of the other laws that govern our criminal justice system, said a defense lawyer in Los Angeles. The criminal law is a vast area, and it is important to understand this aspect of our justice system, but in a simplified way. The basics of Criminal Law cover a lot of ground, but there are five major areas of criminal law, and each of these is essential to understanding criminal justice in general.
Crime – The term “crime” refers to any act, state of mind, or conduct that a person might be convicted of if they committed the same to a federal or state court. Some examples of crimes include murder, kidnapping, arson, drug possession, sexual assault, fraud, child pornography, and a wide array of other crimes.
State – This encompasses the legal system within a specific state, or the legal system in a particular country. There are different kinds of states, each with different criminal justice systems, and the laws of a state vary according to what is available in their jurisdiction. Some states have a system based on civil law, while others have a more traditional criminal justice system.
Federal – This is the most common form of legal system and the one which is most common throughout the world. Criminal laws in a Federal court deal exclusively with violations of the federal criminal code, and some jurisdictions also have an independent federal criminal court.
Defense – This is a subset of criminal law, and deals primarily with defense. The defense attorney deals with the prosecution, and represents the defendant. It is vital to understand that a conviction can be reduced or even dismissed, so attorneys may be able to achieve the end results the defendant desires. These types of cases require a very high standard of proof in order to win.
As you can see, the five areas of Criminal Law are the foundation for all other aspects of our justice system. All jurisdictions require their criminal justice system to have at least one of each of these areas at their disposal. It’s important to understand that the crime and defense laws are completely separate, so it is crucial to read a good criminal law guide before entering a courtroom. You can find lots of resources online, including guides and websites that will walk you through the criminal justice process step by step, as well as detailed explanations of the legal definitions and terms used in criminal courts.