|Scope of criminal liability|
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|Crimes against the person|
|Crimes against property|
|Crimes against justice|
|Crimes against the public|
|Crimes against animals|
|Crimes against the state|
|Defences to liability|
|Other common-law areas|
|Criminology and penology|
In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority.The term crime does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition, though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes. The most popular view is that crime is a category created by law; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law. One proposed definition is that a crime or offence (or criminal offence) is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society, or the state ("a public wrong"). Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.
The notion that acts such as murder, rape, and theft are to be prohibited exists worldwide.What precisely is a criminal offence is defined by criminal law of each country. While many have a catalogue of crimes called the criminal code, in some common law countries no such comprehensive statute exists.
The state (government) has the power to severely restrict one's liberty for committing a crime. In modern societies, there are procedures to which investigations and trials must adhere. If found guilty, an offender may be sentenced to a form of reparation such as a community sentence, or, depending on the nature of their offence, to undergo imprisonment, life imprisonment or, in some jurisdictions, execution.
Usually, to be classified as a crime, the "act of doing something criminal" ( actus reus ) must –with certain exceptions –be accompanied by the "intention to do something criminal" ( mens rea ).
While every crime violates the law, not every violation of the law counts as a crime. Breaches of private law (torts and breaches of contract) are not automatically punished by the state, but can be enforced through civil procedure. The world of crime and criminals is often called "the underworld."
When informal relationships prove insufficient to establish and maintain a desired social order, a government or a state may impose more formalized or stricter systems of social control. With institutional and legal machinery at their disposal, agents of the state can compel populations to conform to codes and can opt to punish or attempt to reform those who do not conform.
Authorities employ various mechanisms to regulate (encouraging or discouraging) certain behaviors in general. Governing or administering agencies may for example codify rules into laws, police citizens and visitors to ensure that they comply with those laws, and implement other policies and practices that legislators or administrators have prescribed with the aim of discouraging or preventing crime. In addition, authorities provide remedies and sanctions, and collectively these constitute a criminal justice system. Legal sanctions vary widely in their severity; they may include (for example) incarceration of temporary character aimed at reforming the convict. Some jurisdictions have penal codes written to inflict permanent harsh punishments: legal mutilation, capital punishment, or life without parole.
Usually, a natural person perpetrates a crime, but legal persons may also commit crimes. Historically, several premodern societies believed that non-human animals were capable of committing crimes, and prosecuted and punished them accordingly.
The sociologist Richard Quinney has written about the relationship between society and crime. When Quinney states "crime is a social phenomenon" he envisages both how individuals conceive crime and how populations perceive it, based on societal norms.
The word crime is derived from the Latin root cernō, meaning "I decide, I give judgment". Originally the Latin word crīmen meant "charge" or "cry of distress." κρίμα, krima, from which the Latin cognate derives, typically referred to an intellectual mistake or an offense against the community, rather than a private or moral wrong.The Ancient Greek word
In 13th century English crime meant "sinfulness", according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. It was probably brought to England as Old French crimne (12th century form of Modern French crime), from Latin crimen (in the genitive case: criminis). In Latin, crimen could have signified any one of the following: "charge, indictment, accusation; crime, fault, offense".
The word may derive from the Latin cernere – "to decide, to sift" (see crisis, mapped on Kairos and Chronos). But Ernest Klein (citing Karl Brugmann) rejects this and suggests *cri-men, which originally would have meant "cry of distress". Thomas G. Tucker suggests a root in "cry" words and refers to English plaint, plaintiff, and so on. The meaning "offense punishable by law" dates from the late 14th century. The Latin word is glossed in Old English by facen, also "deceit, fraud, treachery", [cf. fake]. Crime wave is first attested in 1893 in American English.
Whether a given act or omission constitutes a crime does not depend on the nature of that act or omission; it depends on the nature of the legal consequences that may follow it.An act or omission is a crime if it is capable of being followed by what are called criminal proceedings.
The following definition of crime was provided by the Prevention of Crimes Act 1871, and appliedfor the purposes of section 10 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1908:
The expression "crime" means, in England and Ireland, any felony or the offence of uttering false or counterfeit coin, or of possessing counterfeit gold or silver coin, or the offence of obtaining goods or money by false pretences, or the offence of conspiracy to defraud, or any misdemeanour under the fifty-eighth section of the Larceny Act, 1861.
For the purpose of section 243 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, a crime means an offence punishable on indictment, or an offence punishable on summary conviction, and for the commission of which the offender is liable under the statute making the offence punishable to be imprisoned either absolutely or at the discretion of the court as an alternative for some other punishment.
A normative definition views crime as deviant behavior that violates prevailing norms – cultural standards prescribing how humans ought to behave normally. This approach considers the complex realities surrounding the concept of crime and seeks to understand how changing social, political, psychological, and economic conditions may affect changing definitions of crime and the form of the legal, law-enforcement, and penal responses made by society.
These structural realities remain fluid and often contentious. For example: as cultures change and the political environment shifts, societies may criminalise or decriminalise certain behaviours, which directly affects the statistical crime rates, influence the allocation of resources for the enforcement of laws, and (re-)influence the general public opinion.
Similarly, changes in the collection and/or calculation of data on crime may affect the public perceptions of the extent of any given "crime problem". All such adjustments to crime statistics, allied with the experience of people in their everyday lives, shape attitudes on the extent to which the state should use law or social engineering to enforce or encourage any particular social norm. Behaviour can be controlled and influenced by a society in many ways without having to resort to the criminal justice system.
Indeed, in those cases where no clear consensus exists on a given norm, the drafting of criminal law by the group in power to prohibit the behaviour of another group may seem to some observers an improper limitation of the second group's freedom, and the ordinary members of society have less respect for the law or laws in general –whether the authorities actually enforce the disputed law or not.
Legislatures can pass laws (called mala prohibita) that define crimes against social norms. These laws vary from time to time and from place to place: note variations in gambling laws, for example, and the prohibition or encouragement of duelling in history. Other crimes, called mala in se, count as outlawed in almost all societies, (murder, theft and rape, for example).
English criminal law and the related criminal law of Commonwealth countries can define offences that the courts alone have developed over the years, without any actual legislation: common law offences. The courts used the concept of malum in se to develop various common law offences.
One can view criminalization as a procedure deployed by society as a preemptive harm-reduction device, using the threat of punishment as a deterrent to anyone proposing to engage in the behavior causing harm. The state becomes involved because governing entities can become convinced that the costs of not criminalizing (through allowing the harms to continue unabated) outweigh the costs of criminalizing it (restricting individual liberty, for example, to minimize harm to others).[ citation needed ]
States control the process of criminalization because:
The label of "crime" and the accompanying social stigma normally confine their scope to those activities seen as injurious to the general population or to the state, including some that cause serious loss or damage to individuals. Those who apply the labels of "crime" or "criminal" intend to assert the hegemony of a dominant population, or to reflect a consensus of condemnation for the identified behavior and to justify any punishments prescribed by the state (in the event that standard processing tries and convicts an accused person of a crime).
Justifying the state's use of force to coerce compliance with its laws has proven a consistent theoretical problem. One of the earliest justifications involved the theory of natural law. This posits that the nature of the world or of human beings underlies the standards of morality or constructs them. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the 13th century: "the rule and measure of human acts is the reason, which is the first principle of human acts".He regarded people as by nature rational beings, concluding that it becomes morally appropriate that they should behave in a way that conforms to their rational nature. Thus, to be valid, any law must conform to natural law and coercing people to conform to that law is morally acceptable. In the 1760s, William Blackstone described the thesis:
But John Austin (1790–1859), an early positivist, applied utilitarianism in accepting the calculating nature of human beings and the existence of an objective morality. He denied that the legal validity of a norm depends on whether its content conforms to morality. Thus in Austinian terms, a moral code can objectively determine what people ought to do, the law can embody whatever norms the legislature decrees to achieve social utility, but every individual remains free to choose what to do. Similarly, H.L.A. Hart saw the law as an aspect of sovereignty, with lawmakers able to adopt any law as a means to a moral end.
Thus the necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of a proposition of law simply involved internal logic and consistency, and that the state's agents used state power with responsibility. Ronald Dworkin rejects Hart's theory and proposes that all individuals should expect the equal respect and concern of those who govern them as a fundamental political right. He offers a theory of compliance overlaid by a theory of deference (the citizen's duty to obey the law) and a theory of enforcement, which identifies the legitimate goals of enforcement and punishment. Legislation must conform to a theory of legitimacy, which describes the circumstances under which a particular person or group is entitled to make law, and a theory of legislative justice, which describes the law they are entitled or obliged to make.
There are natural-law theorists who have accepted the idea of enforcing the prevailing morality as a primary function of the law.This view entails the problem that it makes any moral criticism of the law impossible: if conformity with natural law forms a necessary condition for legal validity, all valid law must, by definition, count as morally just. Thus, on this line of reasoning, the legal validity of a norm necessarily entails its moral justice.
One can solve this problem by granting some degree of moral relativism and accepting that norms may evolve over time and, therefore, one can criticize the continued enforcement of old laws in the light of the current norms. People may find such law acceptable, but the use of state power to coerce citizens to comply with that law lacks moral justification. More recent conceptions of the theory characterise crime as the violation of individual rights.
Since society considers so many rights as natural (hence the term right ) rather than man-made, what constitutes a crime also counts as natural, in contrast to laws (seen as man-made). Adam Smith illustrates this view, saying that a smuggler would be an excellent citizen, "...had not the laws of his country made that a crime which nature never meant to be so."
Natural-law theory therefore distinguishes between "criminality" (which derives from human nature) and "illegality" (which originates with the interests of those in power). Lawyers sometimes express the two concepts with the phrases malum in se and malum prohibitum respectively. They regard a "crime malum in se" as inherently criminal; whereas a "crime malum prohibitum" (the argument goes) counts as criminal only because the law has decreed it so.
It follows from this view that one can perform an illegal act without committing a crime, while a criminal act could be perfectly legal. Many Enlightenment thinkers (such as Adam Smith and the American Founding Fathers) subscribed to this view to some extent, and it remains influential among so-called classical liberals [ citation needed ] and libertarians.[ citation needed ]
Some religious communities regard sin as a crime; some may even highlight the crime of sin very early in legendary or mythological accounts of origins –note the tale of Adam and Eve and the theory of original sin. What one group considers a crime may cause or ignite war or conflict. However, the earliest known civilizations had codes of law, containing both civil and penal rules mixed together, though not always in recorded form.
The Sumerians produced the earliest surviving written codes. 2380 BC – c. 2360 BC, short chronology) had an early code that has not survived; a later king, Ur-Nammu, left the earliest extant written law system, the Code of Ur-Nammu (c. 2100 – c. 2050 BC), which prescribed a formal system of penalties for specific cases in 57 articles. The Sumerians later issued other codes, including the "code of Lipit-Ishtar". This code, from the 20th century BCE, contains some fifty articles, and scholars have reconstructed it by comparing several sources.Urukagina (reigned c.
The Sumerian was deeply conscious of his personal rights and resented any encroachment on them, whether by his King, his superior, or his equal. No wonder that the Sumerians were the first to compile laws and law codes.
Successive legal codes in Babylon, including the code of Hammurabi (c. 1790 BC), reflected Mesopotamian society's belief that law derived from the will of the gods (see Babylonian law). Many states at this time functioned as theocracies, with codes of conduct largely religious in origin or reference. In the Sanskrit texts of Dharmaśāstra (c. 1250 BC), issues such as legal and religious duties, code of conduct, penalties and remedies, etc. have been discussed and forms one of the elaborate and earliest source of legal code.
Sir Henry Maine studied the ancient codes available in his day, and failed to find any criminal law in the "modern" sense of the word.While modern systems distinguish between offences against the "state" or "community", and offences against the "individual", the so-called penal law of ancient communities did not deal with "crimes" (Latin: crimina), but with "wrongs" (Latin: delicta). Thus the Hellenic laws treated all forms of theft, assault, rape, and murder as private wrongs, and left action for enforcement up to the victims or their survivors. The earliest systems seem to have lacked formal courts.
The Romans systematized law and applied their system across the Roman Empire. Again, the initial rules of Roman law regarded assaults as a matter of private compensation. The most significant Roman law concept involved dominion.The pater familias owned all the family and its property (including slaves); the pater enforced matters involving interference with any property. The Commentaries of Gaius (written between 130 and 180 AD) on the Twelve Tables treated furtum (in modern parlance: "theft") as a tort.
Similarly, assault and violent robbery involved trespass as to the pater's property (so, for example, the rape of a slave could become the subject of compensation to the pater as having trespassed on his "property"), and breach of such laws created a vinculum juris (an obligation of law) that only the payment of monetary compensation (modern "damages") could discharge. Similarly, the consolidated Teutonic laws of the Germanic tribes, now [update] consider the complete[ citation needed ] range of criminal offences against the person, from murder down.included a complex system of monetary compensations for what courts would
Even though Rome abandoned its Britannic provinces around 400 AD, the Germanic mercenaries –who had largely become instrumental in enforcing Roman rule in Britannia –acquired ownership of land there and continued to use a mixture of Roman and Teutonic Law, with much written down under the early Anglo-Saxon kings. But only when a more centralized English monarchy emerged following the Norman invasion, and when the kings of England attempted to assert power over the land and its peoples, did the modern concept emerge, namely of a crime not only as an offence against the "individual", but also as a wrong against the "state".
This idea came from common law, and the earliest conception of a criminal act involved events of such major significance that the "state" had to usurp the usual functions of the civil tribunals, and direct a special law or privilegium against the perpetrator. All the earliest English criminal trials involved wholly extraordinary and arbitrary courts without any settled law to apply, whereas the civil (delictual) law operated in a highly developed and consistent manner (except where a king wanted to raise money by selling a new form of writ). The development of the idea that the "state" dispenses justice in a court only emerges in parallel with or after the emergence of the concept of sovereignty.
In continental Europe, Roman law persisted, but with a stronger influence from the Christian Church.Coupled with the more diffuse political structure based on smaller feudal units, various legal traditions emerged, remaining more strongly rooted in Roman jurisprudence, but modified to meet the prevailing political climate.
In Scandinavia the effect of Roman law did not become apparent until the 17th century, and the courts grew out of the things –the assemblies of the people. The people decided the cases (usually with largest freeholders dominating). This system later gradually developed into a system with a royal judge nominating a number of the most esteemed men of the parish as his board, fulfilling the function of "the people" of yore.
From the Hellenic system onwards, the policy rationale for requiring the payment of monetary compensation for wrongs committed has involved the avoidance of feuding between clans and families.If compensation could mollify families' feelings, this would help to keep the peace. On the other hand, the institution of oaths also played down the threat of feudal warfare. Both in archaic Greece and in medieval Scandinavia, an accused person walked free if he could get a sufficient number of male relatives to swear him not guilty. (Compare the United Nations Security Council, in which the veto power of the permanent members ensures that the organization does not become involved in crises where it could not enforce its decisions.)
These means of restraining private feuds did not always work, and sometimes prevented the fulfillment of justice. But in the earliest times the "state" did not always provide an independent policing force. Thus criminal law grew out of what 21st-century lawyers would call torts; and, in real terms, many acts and omissions classified as crimes actually overlap with civil-law concepts.
The development of sociological thought from the 19th century onwards prompted some fresh views on crime and criminality, and fostered the beginnings of criminology as a study of crime in society. Nietzsche noted a link between crime and creativity –in The Birth of Tragedy he asserted:[ needs context ] "The best and brightest that man can acquire he must obtain by crime". In the 20th century, Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish made a study of criminalization as a coercive method of state control.
The following classes of offences are used, or have been used, as legal terms:
Researchers and commentators have classified crimes into the following categories, in addition to those above:
One can categorise crimes depending on the related punishment, with sentencing tariffs prescribed in line with the perceived seriousness of the offence. Thus fines and noncustodial sentences may address the crimes seen as least serious, with lengthy imprisonment or (in some jurisdictions) capital punishment reserved for the most serious.
Under the common law of England, crimes were classified as either treason, felony or misdemeanour, with treason sometimes being included with the felonies. This system was based on the perceived seriousness of the offence. It is still used in the United States but the distinction between felony and misdemeanour is abolished in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The following classes of offence are based on mode of trial:
In common law countries, crimes may be categorised into common law offences and statutory offences. In the US, Australia and Canada (in particular), they are divided into federal crimes and under state crimes.
In the United States since 1930, the FBI has tabulated Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) annually from crime data submitted by law enforcement agencies across the United States.Officials compile this data at the city, county, and state levels into the UCR. They classify violations of laws based on common law as Part I (index) crimes in UCR data. These are further categorized as violent or property crimes. Part I violent crimes include murder and criminal homicide (voluntary manslaughter), forcible rape, aggravated assault, and robbery; while Part I property crimes include burglary, arson, larceny/theft, and motor-vehicle theft. All other crimes count come under Part II.
For convenience, such lists usually include infractions although, in the U.S., they may come into the sphere not of the criminal law, but rather of the civil law. Compare tortfeasance.
Booking arrests require detention for a time-frame ranging 1 to 24 hours.
There are several national and International organizations offering studies and statistics about global and local crime activity, such as United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United States of America Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) safety report or national reports generated by the law-enforcement authorities of EU state member reported to the Europol.
In England and Wales, as well as in Hong Kong, the term offence means the same thing as, and is interchangeable with, the term crime ,They are further split into:
Many different causes and correlates of crime have been proposed with varying degree of empirical support. They include socioeconomic, psychological, biological, and behavioral factors. Controversial topics include media violence research and effects of gun politics.
Emotional state (both chronic and current) have a tremendous impact on individual thought processes and, as a result, can be linked to criminal activities. The positive psychology concept of Broaden and Build posits that cognitive functioning expands when an individual is in a good-feeling emotional state and contracts as emotional state declines.In positive emotional states an individual is able to consider more possible solutions to problems, but in lower emotional states fewer solutions can be ascertained. The narrowed thought-action repertoires can result in the only paths perceptible to an individual being ones they would never use if they saw an alternative, but if they can't conceive of the alternatives that carry less risk they will choose one that they can see. Criminals who commit even the most horrendous of crimes, such as mass murders, did not see another solution.
Crimes defined by treaty as crimes against international law include:
From the point of view of state-centric law, extraordinary procedures (international courts or national courts operating with universal jurisdiction) may prosecute such crimes. Note the role of the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands.[ citation needed ]
Different religious traditions may promote distinct norms of behaviour, and these in turn may clash or harmonise with the perceived interests of a state. Socially accepted or imposed religious morality has influenced secular jurisdictions on issues that may otherwise concern only an individual's conscience. Activities sometimes criminalized on religious grounds include (for example) alcohol consumption (prohibition), abortion and stem-cell research. In various historical and present-day societies, institutionalized religions have established systems of earthly justice that punish crimes against the divine will and against specific devotional, organizational and other rules under specific codes, such as Roman Catholic canon law and Islamic Shariah Law.
In the military sphere, authorities can prosecute both regular crimes and specific acts (such as mutiny or desertion) under martial-law codes that either supplant or extend civil codes in times of (for example) war.
Many constitutions contain provisions to curtail freedoms and criminalize otherwise tolerated behaviors under a state of emergency in the event of war, natural disaster or civil unrest. Undesired activities at such times may include assembly in the streets, violation of curfew, or possession of firearms.
Two common types of employee crime exist: embezzlement and wage theft.
The complexity and anonymity of computer systems may help criminal employees camouflage their operations. The victims of the most costly scams include banks, brokerage houses, insurance companies, and other large financial institutions.
In the United States, it is estimated that workers are not paid at least $19 billion every year in overtimeand that in total $40 billion to $60 billion are lost annually due to all forms of wage theft. This compares to national annual losses of $340 million due to robbery, $4.1 billion due to burglary, $5.3 billion due to larceny, and $3.8 billion due to auto theft in 2012. In Singapore, as in the United States, wage theft was found to be widespread and severe. In a 2014 survey it was found that as many as one-third of low wage male foreign workers in Singapore, or about 130,000, were affected by wage theft from partial to full denial of pay.
The moral standards...which Dworkin (in line with natural law theory) treats as capable of being morally objective & true, thus function as a direct source of law and...as already law, except when their fit with the whole set of social-fact sources in the relevant community is so weak that it would be more accurate (according to Dworkin) to say that judges who apply them are applying morality not law.
...it was part of the task of a legal theorist to explain the 'normativity' or 'authority' of law, by which they meant 'our sense that ‘legal’ norms provide agents with special reasons for acting, reasons they would not have if the norm were not a ‘legal’ one'...this may be a matter calling more for a psychological or sociological explanation, rather than a philosophical one.
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An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in criminal prosecution, civil liability, or both. Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and tort law.
A felony is traditionally considered a crime of high seriousness, whereas a misdemeanor is regarded as less serious. The term "felony" originated from English common law to describe an offense that resulted in the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods, to which additional punishments including capital punishment could be added; other crimes were called misdemeanors. Following conviction of a felony in a court of law, a person may be described as a convicted felon/felon.
Law enforcement is the activity of some members of government who act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, deterring, rehabilitating, or punishing people who violate the rules and norms governing that society. The term encompasses police, courts, and corrections.
Theft is the taking of another person's property or services without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word theft is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting, library theft or fraud. In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny; in others, theft has replaced larceny. Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career out of theft is known as a thief.
Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take anything of value by force, threat of force, or by putting the victim in fear. According to common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear; that is, it is a larceny or theft accomplished by an assault. Precise definitions of the offence may vary between jurisdictions. Robbery is differentiated from other forms of theft by its inherently violent nature ; whereas many lesser forms of theft are punished as misdemeanors, robbery is always a felony in jurisdictions that distinguish between the two. Under English law, most forms of theft are triable either way, whereas robbery is triable only on indictment. The word "rob" came via French from Late Latin words of Germanic origin, from Common Germanic raub "theft".
Burglary, also called breaking and entering and sometimes housebreaking, is illegally entering a building or other areas to commit a crime. Usually that offence is theft, robbery or murder, but most jurisdictions include others within the ambit of burglary. To commit burglary is to burgle, a term back-formed from the word burglar, or to burglarize.
Military justice is the body of laws and procedures governing members of the armed forces. Many nation-states have separate and distinct bodies of law that govern the conduct of members of their armed forces. Some states use special judicial and other arrangements to enforce those laws, while others use civilian judicial systems. Legal issues unique to military justice include the preservation of good order and discipline, the legality of orders, and appropriate conduct for members of the military. Some states enable their military justice systems to deal with civil offenses committed by their armed forces in some circumstances.
An outlaw is a person declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, all legal protection was withdrawn from the criminal, so that anyone was legally empowered to persecute or kill them. Outlawry was thus one of the harshest penalties in the legal system. In early Germanic law, the death penalty is conspicuously absent, and outlawing is the most extreme punishment, presumably amounting to a death sentence in practice. The concept is known from Roman law, as the status of homo sacer, and persisted throughout the Middle Ages.
A citizen's arrest is an arrest made by a private citizen – that is, a person who is not acting as a sworn law-enforcement official. In common law jurisdictions, the practice dates back to medieval England and the English common law, in which sheriffs encouraged ordinary citizens to help apprehend law breakers.
A wrong is an act that is illegal or immoral. Legal wrongs are usually quite clearly defined in the law of a state and/or jurisdiction. They can be divided into civil wrongs and crimes in common law countries, while civil law countries tend to have some additional categories, such as contraventions.
In criminology, a political crime or political offence is an offence involving overt acts or omissions, which prejudice the interests of the state, its government, or the political system. It is to be distinguished from state crime, in which it is the states that break both their own criminal laws or public international law.
Misprision of treason is an offence found in many common law jurisdictions around the world, having been inherited from English law. It is committed by someone who knows a treason is being or is about to be committed but does not report it to a proper authority.
Criminalization or criminalisation, in criminology, is "the process by which behaviors and individuals are transformed into crime and criminals". Previously legal acts may be transformed into crimes by legislation or judicial decision. However, there is usually a formal presumption in the rules of statutory interpretation against the retrospective application of laws, and only the use of express words by the legislature may rebut this presumption. The power of judges to make new law and retrospectively criminalise behaviour is also discouraged. In a less overt way, where laws have not been strictly enforced, the acts prohibited by those laws may also undergo de facto criminalization through more effective or committed legal enforcement. The process of criminalization takes place through societal institutions including schools, the family, and the criminal justice system.
In criminology, public-order crime is defined by Siegel (2004) as "crime which involves acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of people to function efficiently", i.e., it is behaviour that has been labelled criminal because it is contrary to shared norms, social values, and customs. Robertson (1989:123) maintains a crime is nothing more than "an act that contravenes a law". Generally speaking, deviancy is criminalized when it is too disruptive and has proved uncontrollable through informal sanctions.
In criminal law, the term offence against the person or crime against the person usually refers to a crime which is committed by direct physical harm or force being applied to another person.
Although the legal system of Singapore is a common law system, the criminal law of Singapore is largely statutory in nature. The general principles of criminal law, as well as the elements and penalties of general criminal offences such as assault, criminal intimidation, mischief, grievous hurt, theft, extortion, sex crimes and cheating, are set out in the Penal Code. Other serious offences are created by statutes such as the Arms Offences Act, Kidnapping Act, Misuse of Drugs Act and Vandalism Act.
The Penal Code of Singapore sets out general principles of the criminal law of Singapore, as well as the elements and penalties of general criminal offences such as assault, criminal intimidation, mischief, grievous hurt, theft, extortion, sex crimes and cheating. The Penal Code does not define and list exhaustively all the criminal offences applicable in Singapore – a large number of these are created by other statutes such as the Arms Offences Act, Kidnapping Act, Misuse of Drugs Act and Vandalism Act.
Capital punishment in Armenia was a method of punishment that was implemented within Armenia's Criminal Code and Constitution until its eventual relinquishment in the 2003 modifications made to the Constitution. Capital punishment's origin in Armenia is unknown, yet it remained present in the Armenia Criminal Code of 1961, which was enforced and applied until 1999. Capital punishment was incorporated in Armenian legislation and effectuated for capital crimes, which were crimes that were classified to be punishable by death, this included: treason, espionage, first-degree murder, acts of terrorism and grave military crimes.
Marital coercion was a defence to most crimes under English criminal law and under the criminal law of Northern Ireland. It is similar to duress. It was abolished in England and Wales by section 177 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which came into force on 13 May 2014. The abolition does not apply in relation to offences committed before that date.
A sodomy law is a law that defines certain sexual acts as crimes. The precise sexual acts meant by the term sodomy are rarely spelled out in the law, but are typically understood by courts to include any sexual act deemed to be unnatural or immoral. Sodomy typically includes anal sex, oral sex, and bestiality. In practice, sodomy laws have rarely been enforced against heterosexual couples, and have mostly been used to target homosexual couples.