Criminal law in NC
Criminal law is the section of law that specifically relates to crime. This law regulates conduct and deals with anything that is harmful, threatening, or endangering to property, safety, health and the moral welfare of people. Criminal law includes punishing anyone who violates any of these laws. Criminal law will vary by Jurisdiction, and can differ from Civil Law which covers victim resolution and victim compensation rather than for punishment.
Objectives of criminal law
Criminal law is not uniquely characteristic for the potentially severe sanctions or consequences for failing to abide by its own rules. All crime is comprised of some form of criminal elements. In some jurisdictions for the more serious crimes, capital punishment man be enforced. An individual can be confined to jail or prison within a set of conditions for their incarceration which is also jurisdiction specific. The length of one's incarceration can differ from just one day up to life in prison as well as the possibility for solitary confinement. Supervision may be imposed by the government, this can include house arrest. Convicts may have to conform to a particular set of guidelines required as part of probation or a regimen. Also imposed can be fines, from seizing property or money from an individual convicted of a crime.
There are five objectives that are commonly accepted as enforcement of criminal law: deterrence, retribution, incapacitation, restoration and rehabilitation. The value placed on each of these can vary depending on the jurisdiction.
- Retribution - Criminals need to be punished in some form or another, as this is the goal see most widely. When a criminal has taken inappropriate advantage , or has caused unfair damage or harm to others. The criminal law is there to put criminals in a disadvantaged and unpleasant position in order to balance the scales of justice. People want and have the right to live their lives and not be murdered, and for this reason they submit to the laws of the land, If someone were to breach this law then they are surrendering the rights that have been granted to them by these laws. This is why a person can be executed if charged with murder.
- Incapacitation - This is intended to separate criminals from society in order to keep the public protected and safe from their criminal misconduct. Today this if commonly achieved with prison sentences. Banishment and the death penalty also serve the same purpose.
- Deterrence - Deterrence for an individual is setup specifically towards the offender. The purpose to impose a penalty sufficient enough to deter the offender from any further criminal behavior. This deterrence is aimed at society as a whole. Imposing these penalties on individuals who have committed offenses, this in turn discourages other individuals from committing similar offenses.
- Restoration - This type of punishment is victim oriented. The objective here is to repair, by authority of the state, any and all injury that has been inflicted by the offender to the victim. As an example, if an individual embezzles a sum of money, this individual will be required by law to repay the same amount that was inappropriately acquired. It is common that restoration can be combined with additional criminal justice goals and can be similarly related to civil law concepts. For example, having the victim return to their original situation prior to the injury.
- Rehabilitation - The purpose for rehabilitation is to transform an offender back into a valued and trusted member of society. By convincing an offender that their actions of misconduct were wrong, the goal is to prevent them from committing further offenses in the future.
Element of a crime
Criminal law commonly prevents acts that are undesirable. Therefore to have proof that there was a crime, there needs to be proof of a criminal act. This requirement is labeled the guilty act. Some modern crimes, particularly regulatory offenses do not require proof of an act, these are called strict liability offenses. Because criminal convictions can carry potentially harsh consequences, common law judges now look for proof of intent to do something bad or unlawful, known as the guilty mind. For those crimes where both the guilty act and the guilty mind are requirements, it has been concluded by judges that these elements have to occur at exactly the same time, if they occurred at different times or one after the other then this would not be enough to combine the two together.
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