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What Is Criminal Law and Its Objectives In cases when offenses are committed that are detrimental to society, these are called crimes. It is expressed in common law jurisdiction, that a legal concern is committed when a crime disturbs the peace of people and society. The agents of sovereign are government officials, and they are responsible for the prosecution of offenders. Under criminal law, the plaintiff refers to, in practical terms, as the monarch or the people. Deterrence and punishment are the major objectives of criminal law, while civil law is individual compensation. 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. Let us take for example a murder case, it is the unlawful killing of a person that is the element of actus reus, and the intention to kill or cause grievous injury is the element of 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. It is not the nature of the criminal law to require a victim or a victim’s consent 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. There are two fields that a criminal law would play in most jurisdictions of both common and civil law traditions. One is that to address the violations of criminal law, what regulates the process is the criminal procedure. Another field is the substantive criminal law that specifies the definition of and punishments for in the different crimes.
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Crimes from civil wrongs such as tort or breach of contract are distinguished under criminal law. 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. It was not until the late nineteenth century that the legal systems in the past underwent a definition between civil and criminal law. In many U.S. law schools, the English common criminal law of 1750 is the basic course in criminal law.
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There are several types of criminal law and these are arrests and searches, drug crimes, juvenile law, drunk driving, parole, probation, pardons, violent crimes, white collar crimes and military law. Note that criminal law is also known as penal law which is a term used to address to the different rule bodies in certain jurisdictions.