Monthly Archives: March 2017

Crime and Criminal Law

What is Criminal Laws?

The U.S. Congress and state legislature execute criminal laws. Traditionally, the state courts have adopted the criminal laws based on the common law from England.

The current movement is for the legislature, instead of the courts to compose criminal law. The majority of the crimes that are committed are protected by state criminal laws. For instance, if a crime such as a robbery took place within a state, and was committed by individuals from the state, it will be covered by state criminal laws.

“About Criminal Laws”

Some of the crimes that are dealt with as Federal crimes include:

  • Federal employees
  • Federal taxes
  • Federal property
  • Receipt of federal benefits
  • Civil rights that are federally guaranteed
  • Infractions that include interstate commerce such as transporting individuals or good through state lines

For instance, assaulting a federal employee or robbing a U.S. post office is considered to be a federal crime.

What are the types of Crimes?

Crimes are divided into two underlying divisions:

  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors

These divisions depend on the seriousness of the crime and the extent of the punishment. A felony is when the committed crime is punishable for imprisonment for over one year. You have the right to a jury when charged with a felony crime. A few of the common law felonies include:

  • Robbery
  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Burglary
  • Treason
  • Kidnapping

When charged with a misdemeanor, this generally means that the crime is punishable for less than one year imprisonment. If the misdemeanor is considered to be serious enough you also have the right to a jury in trial.

The common law system that divides crimes such as misdemeanors and felonies is increasingly being replaced with modern systems.

These modern systems are based on model law that is known as the Model Penal Code which distributes the crimes by degree.

First degree crimes consist the most severe crimes such as:

  • Sexual assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder

Fourth degree crimes consist of the least severe crimes such as mischief.

The Model Penal Code additionally recognizes criminal conduct less severe than crimes, such as violations and offenses.

Adultery Criminal Laws and Their

Adultery is also known as philandery or infidelity is basically a form of extramarital sex. Originally it referred to sex between a married woman and another person other than her spouse. Illegal in some countries, its difference from rape is that while rape involves use of force; adultery is voluntary. Having a Judeo-Christian origin, the concept is present in almost all religious factions of the world.

Committing adultery brings up several consequences like an enraged spouse at home and possible dissolution of the family and supportive life. Despite the fact that such family and supportive life was built up with a lot of efforts on part of the couple involved, adultery can disrupt their life. On the other hand adultery criminal laws in force in the country where it is committed can bring up serious consequences for the offender. In any case it could constitute pertinent grounds for fault based divorce.

Legal consequences of adultery that is considered a criminal act, does not end with divorce alone. It could result in a civil lawsuit against the spouse committing adultery. Besides the emotional trauma as well as the fallout faced by the subjects of adultery and consequential criminal laws, they could even land up in jail serving punishment on criminal charges.

Scenario is however changing pretty rapidly. Only few states in United States have adultery statute in place. Many states on the other hand abolished the statute altogether. Of course the states like Florida are an exception that still considers the adulterer as criminal. Open adultery is still a punishable criminal offence in Florida. Unique feature of adultery criminal laws in Florida is that even though only one of the persons involved in adultery is married, both can be charged with criminal offences of open adultery.

Thus, in Florida a person guilty of open adultery can face imprisonment up to 60 days and fines up to $500. In addition such person will also have a criminal record adding insult to injuries. In result it would be difficult getting jobs, loans, and other such financial and career benefits.

People charged with commitment of adultery should consult an efficient and reputable criminal lawyer to get appropriate advice. Such lawyer would be the right person for protecting the civil rights of the client.

Understanding Federalism and Law

In criminal law jurisdiction and locale can make a huge difference in the level of crime you are charged with and the penalties associated therein. The United States of America was built upon the concept of federalism, wherein each individual state had sovereignty. States were designated as the caregiver of criminal laws and budget. Over the years, the federal government has asserted more and more power over states, and even developed its own criminal system. As it stands, an individual can be charged for a crime such as drug trafficking at both the state and the federal level. The penalties, however, will be different. What is true at the state and federal level, is likewise true when comparing regional statutes and penalties. For example, the state will have drunk driving laws, but each county, city, or municipality will have different statutes or even penalties associated with it. New York City local statutes prevent citizens from purchasing mace, whereas 15 miles out it is legal to own and carry it.

Obviously these discrepencies can make it difficult for visitors of an area or someone who has recently moved to that area to be able to keep track of the legislation and stay in accordance with the law. This becomes painfully obvious when travellers coming from the southern United States where gun laws are less strict attempt to drive up the coast and become victim to the capricity in law. What is completely legal to own and transport in Virginia can literally get you a sentence of 5 years in prison in the Empire State.

In addition to statutes and criminal codes, there is also the mood or tempo of the courts who will be hearing your case. Some counties and their representatives are tougher on certain types of crime than another. A DUI in the Bronx would produce one result or offer whereas in Queens or Nassau you’d be less likely to get the same first offer due to the community stance on drunk driving.

It becomes difficult for attorneys to provide sufficient answers to the families of the accused when it comes to why their son or daughter just received a B Felony for criminal sales or why a military veteran is looking at criminal charges for having his weapon in his car as he was driving across another state to get home for Thanksgiving. The laws and rules seem fickle to the average person, and truth be known to the average attorney, as well.

There are times when many of us question the system, and at these times it is a healthy practice to understand why the framers of our Constitution set it up this way. This system allows individuals to move to areas that align with their values or shape their area in this way. Someone who wishes to own an AR-15 can move to Texas or Virginia. Someone who doesn’t want these types of weapons in their community can move to New York or Massachusetts.

Understanding the laws in your region or the region you are staying in is as simple as checking an online law library. This is advisable for anyone and everyone who is considering a move to another state or county or even attempting a drive across country.

Any type of criminal charge usually leaves the accused frightened, stressed, and almost too depressed to function. These swirling emotions oftentimes result in a dangerous state of denial. Criminal cases need to start immediately so that the most positive resolution can be created from the situation.

On the Role of the Criminal Law

In every industry, there are those who work behind the scenes to ensure that the activities of each organization are carried out accurately and efficiently. The hallmark sound of the Prussian stamp thudding against a sheet paper has for centuries announced the presence of such individuals, and while the methodology of clerical work has largely changed with the advent of the computer age, that same sound still resounds in the offices of criminal law, where the might of traditional and ceremonial custom is brought face-to-face with the fast-paced, high-tech processes of the modern age. This clash between the past and the present requires a unique skill-set to master, paramount of which are the abilities to master archaic terminology, modern mediums of communication, and above all, to develop an adaptive frame of mind.

There are a number of words and phrases which, when used properly, serve to make criminal procedures all but incomprehensible to the layman. Phrases such as “Comes Now,” and “Counsel of Record,” may cause the average reader to pause, while phrases like “In Pari Delicto,” or “Sua Sponte,” are confounding in the extreme – not the least because they are words taken from a dead language. For an effective criminal law clerk, however, such phrases and words must at the very least be familiar, as courts often demand their usage in official documents for the sake of tradition and professionalism. Even without an adept’s understanding of Latin, a criminal law clerk must be prepared to place these terms throughout legal documents appropriately and, perhaps more importantly, know when to omit these terms. Whereas the absence of these traditional terms might be tolerated by a judge, the incorrect placement of those terms might change the meaning of an entire document, and make it inadmissible to court records. So far as efficiency is concerned, there is nothing worse than being forced to do the same work twice.

While archaic terminology is a basic requirement necessary for all effective law clerks to master, one surprisingly overlooked qualification is a mastery of the modern modes of communication. This includes methods such as email, faxing and even properly formatted postal envelopes. Of these three, properly formatted and professionally appearing envelopes are perhaps the most crucial, as many courts require original documents and do not accept facsimile or electronic copies. To be familiar with proper mail-address formatting may seem a given – yet, such a familiarity implies intimate knowledge of word-processing programs and printer capabilities, as handwritten envelopes are, to say the least, unprofessional. That said, knowledge of fax systems and the process of emailing is also critical; as more and more courts begin to accept digital copies of documents, law clerks are required to be familiar with professionally structured and properly formatted e-docs.

Given the variation between what sorts of documents courts will and will not accept, the most important qualification of a criminal law clerk is that of adaptability. Understanding that each court and each judge has their own demands – and being able to meet those demands – is paramount to being an effective legal clerk. Being prepared to make use of archaic terminology or modern terminology; being capable of filing documents early enough to meet the demands of courts who require original, physical copies, vs. those which only demand electronic, digital copies; understanding how each individual court schedules hearings; even being capable of meeting the demands of other criminal law clerks – all these and more require an ability to adapt to each unique case and each unique situation. Without this adaptability, not only will the work of resolving criminal cases be compounded exponentially, but the appeal of a law clerk as an employee is inherently reduced.

In short, the ability to adapt to the requirements of any legal situation, to understand all of the modern and less-than-modern forms of communication, and finally, to comprehend when and where to use archaic legal terms, will determine the ultimate effectiveness of every criminal law clerk, whether they serve a court, a public defense association, or a private defense attorney. Indeed, while many bureaucratic and clerical positions are able to thrive on stolid and uncompromising methods, that of a criminal law clerk requires a flexibility that is, in almost every field, otherwise unknown.