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Some Basic Information about Criminal Law Crimes are defined as offences against the order in society according to criminal law. As far as common law jurisdiction, when crimes disturb the peace of the sovereign, a legal implication is involved. The sovereign are represented by government officials as the agents, and it is their responsibility to prosecute offenders. Under criminal law, the plaintiff refers to, in practical terms, as the monarch or the people. Unlike in civil law when the objective is individual compensation, the major objective of criminal law is deterrence and punishment. The physical act or the actus reur or guilty act and the requisite mental state of which the act is done or mens rea or guilty mind, are the two distinct elements of a criminal offence. In a murder case for example, the actus reus is the unlawful killing of a person while it is the intention to kill or cause grievous injury as the mens rea. In order to lessen or negate the criminal liability of the person who committed the offence, the criminal law would detail the defences of the defendants and this will determine the degree of the criminal liability of the person concern. Criminal will not require a victim or a victim’s consent in order to prosecute the offender. Also, the consent of the victim cannot be a defence in most crimes, and note that even with the objections of the victim, a criminal prosecution can take place. Both in the common and civil law traditions, there are two fields that the criminal law is divided. One is that to address the violations of criminal law, what regulates the process is the criminal procedure. The second is the definition of and punishments of the various crimes which the substantive criminal law will detail out.
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With criminal law, crimes from civil wrongs like tort or breach of contract are distinguished from the other. While civil law has the objective of primarily directing relationships between groups and individuals and their obligations and rights under the law, criminal law is viewed as a system of regulating individuals and groups in relation to the whole society. Several ancient legal systems did not clearly define the distinction between criminal and civil law until the nineteenth century. The English common criminal law of 1750 has become the basic course in criminal law in most U.S. law schools.
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Arrests and searches, drug crimes, juvenile law, drunk driving, parole, probation, pardons, violent crimes, white collar crimes and military law are among the many types of criminal laws. The other term for criminal law is penal law, a term used to refer to various rule bodies in distinct jurisdictions.