Crime is defined as committing a socially harmful or dangerous activity that is prohibited by law. Criminal law deals with identifying the accused of a crime proving guilt and punishing the criminal.
A crime comprises “acts reus” which is the criminal act and “mens rea” which is the concurrent state of the mind.
The purpose of criminal law is to prevent crime in society to create a safe environment for all. Traditionally criminals were given tough punishments like life sentences or death sentences. The reason for this was to convey a message that the criminal activities will not be pardoned and they can have serious repercussions. However, this concept has changed to a large extent in several societies. The focus is now on reforming the criminal so that he does not commit a crime in the future.
In the US, an individual accused of a criminal act has certain rights such as:
- The presumption that the individual is innocent until proven guilty.
- Right to Counsel
- Right to produce witnesses and evidence to prove innocence.
- Right to cross-examine the plaintiff and his witnesses.
- There is a prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure of the defendant.
- Right to a speedy trial.
- Right to appeal.
Besides these, as per US laws, the accused needs to be advised of his right to an attorney when he is charged with the crime. He can also refuse to answer if the answers incriminate him.
How the Criminal Justice System Works?
When a criminal act is committed, it is reported to the police. They investigate the crime and identify the accused. The accused is charged with the crime and he has to face charges in the court of law. The Public Prosecutor represents the state in a criminal case because criminal activities are acts against the State. The accused has the right to engage a criminal defense attorney who can represent them in court.
In a criminal case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. The prosecution is required to collect evidence and witnesses to prove the accused guilty of the crime. The guilt has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
The trial for a criminal case is held in front of a jury of 12 members. It is presided over by a Judge. The attorneys represent their clients in front of the jury. The verdict of “guilty” or not guilty is declared by the jury who listens to both lawyers. The verdict declared by the jury has to be a unanimous one. In other words, all members must agree.
Based on the verdict of the jury, the judge declares the judgment and declares the punishment.
Criminal codes are applicable for a wide range of crimes. Some examples of crimes are arson, battery, child abuse, counterfeiting, cybercrime, embezzlement, robbery, rape, and more.
The criminal law system can be a little complex to comprehend. Hence it is recommended that you hire an experienced criminal lawyer in case you are facing criminal charges. Ward K Johnson Law Firm has the best criminal lawyers. Connect with Ward K Johnson Law Firm if you face criminal charges.