July 19, 2024

You might recognize shows like “Law & Order,” “The Practice,” and “Better Call Saul” for their intense, high-stress, and often emotional scenes. These shows are based on the very real career of criminal law. So, what exactly is criminal law, and is it as dramatic and extreme as portrayed on TV?

Criminal Law Definition

Criminal law deals with crimes and the legal consequences for those who commit them.

There are two primary categories of criminal offenses: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are the most serious crimes, including acts such as murder, robbery, and arson. Misdemeanors are less severe offenses, like traffic violations or petty theft.

The FBI reports that the most frequent crimes include theft (larceny), burglary, and aggravated assault.

Criminal laws exist at both federal and state levels. Penalties for crimes vary based on the type of crime, where it was committed, the individual’s involvement, and whether it is their first offense. Find the list of criminal lawyers in bangalore here.

What Do People Who Work in Criminal Law Do?

Criminal lawyers enforce criminal law by defending clients accused of crimes or prosecuting those responsible. Their work often involves court appearances to represent their clients. When not in court, they may be researching cases, studying relevant laws, or communicating with clients to inform them of upcoming court dates.

Civil vs. Criminal Law

Civil and criminal law both address situations where an individual or entity (such as a business) has been harmed, injured, killed, or violated. However, they differ significantly in their focus and processes.

Civil Law

Civil law mainly addresses conflicts involving individuals or organizations. Court cases in civil law aim to rectify the wrong one party has committed against another, usually by requiring the offending party to compensate the harmed party for damages. Examples of civil law cases include:

  • Malpractice
  • Custody disputes
  • Property damage
  • Defamation
  • Breach of contract

Criminal Law

In criminal law, the government initiates the case, not the individual. The court determines whether the accused is guilty or not guilty, or the accused may plead guilty. If found guilty, the person is punished for the specific crimes, often resulting in jail time or fines. Examples of criminal law cases include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Homicide
  • Theft
  • Rape
  • Illegal substance possession

In essence, while civil law seeks to resolve personal disputes and provide compensation, criminal law focuses on punishing offenders and protecting society.

Criminal Law Job Titles

Sure, here’s a shortened version:

Criminal lawyers vary based on whom they represent. Defense attorneys defend individuals accused of crimes, either privately hired or as public defenders for those unable to afford private counsel. Prosecuting attorneys represent the government at local, state, or federal levels.

Besides working as a criminal lawyer, there are numerous roles in the criminal justice field that involve interaction with criminal law daily but do not require a law degree. Some examples of these jobs include:

  • Criminal profiler
  • Private investigator
  • Victim advocate
  • Financial examiner
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Police officer
  • Security guard
  • Property management technician
  • Bailiff
  • Probation officer
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Fraud investigator