General Criminal Law

Compensation as a Punishment

Compensation as a Punishment

Individuals who are convicted criminals have caused some type of harm, injury, or damage to another person or to another person's property. Criminals cost the Government and taxpayers millions of dollars every year. In order to catch criminals, a State must employ law enforcement officials trained in finding and apprehending dangerous offenders. The State must also establish and maintain correctional facilities in order to house individuals who pose a threat to society.
 
 
It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for a State to house inmates and to provide criminals with the basic necessities that are needed for survival. The majority of states throughout the United States continue to maintain capital punishment, which costs each State millions more. Court trials and judicial proceedings also accumulate a great deal of financial costs.
 
 
Plus, the damage that a criminal has actually caused has not even been mentioned yet. Criminals may be responsible for thousands of dollars worth of damage as a result of their crimes. A large portion of the costs that are acquired due to the immobilization of criminals is paid by taxpayers. Therefore, in the course of their crimes offenders have produced a material debt to society.
 
 
There are many different ways in which a convicted offender may be required to pay their debt to society. The most common way is through fines. Often, an individual who is responsible for committing a crime will be required to pay a hefty fine as part of their punishment.
 
 
Another common way that a perpetrator will be required to pay their debt to society is community service. Under this setup, a criminal will often be required to take part in work or labor and they will not receive any compensation for their efforts. 
 
 
The tasks that a convict will be required to partake in may vary a great deal. They may include gardening, painting, or picking up garbage in parks or on highways. Community service may also involve volunteering at various types of shelters or for non-profit organizations.
 
 
A criminal who is taking part in community service is paying their debt to society by helping to improve the environment and the community. The actions of the criminal are now directly benefiting the community that he or she originally harmed. Community service may also provide the offender with new talents and abilities that will be productive to society once the criminal has finished their sentence.
 
 
While criminals are addressing their debt to society, they may also be required to pay their debts to their victim. In many instances, a criminal will cause damage to their victim's property. In order to compensate for this damage the offender may be required to pay restitution as part of their punishment. 
 
 
Restitution may occur when the perpetrator provides their victim with funds to replace stolen objects or to repair damaged property. In other instances, the criminal may be required to donate their time and labor to help repair the damage that they have caused.
 
 
Individuals who are responsible for criminal activities are not only responsible for a large financial burden, but also for extensive harm and damage, and therefore, they must compensate society for the destruction that they have caused. 

Is Concurrence Necessary for Criminality?

Is Concurrence Necessary for Criminality?

Criminality can not be imposed on a defendant unless a prosecutor can prove concurrence. 

A Definition of Concurrent Life Sentences

A Definition of Concurrent Life Sentences

Life sentences can be handed down in one of two ways. An individual who has committed particularly heinous offenses will usually be condemned to consecutive sentences.

A Full Guide to Actus Reus

A Full Guide to Actus Reus

In order for an individual to be convicted of a crime, many different elements of the crime must be satisfied. The most important of these elements is the actus reus. Actus reus is the action or behavior which constitutes a crime. It is the criminal activity that an offender has taken part in that has caused damage or injury to another person or to another person's property. 
 
 
For example, if an individual is being charged with assault, the actus reus would be the act of beating or physically injuring the victim. Without actus reus, a crime would not have occurred.
 
 
In order for an individual to be convicted of a crime, the prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant is the individual who is responsible for the actus reus. The prosecutor will do this by presenting evidence to the court and by gathering testimonies from witnesses. The evidence must leave the jury without any doubt that the defendant has committed the actus reus. Otherwise, the individual who is being accused of the crime cannot be convicted and will not receive a criminal sentence. 
 
 
Actus reus is not the only essential element of a crime that must be satisfied in order for a defendant to be convicted. Mens rea is also an important and necessary aspect of any crime. In order for an individual to be convicted of a crime, mens rea must also be established. This means that the prosecutor must prove that the defendant intended and desired to take part in the criminal activity for which he or she was responsible.
 
 
In order for criminal charges to be imposed upon a defendant, both mens rea and actus reus must be present. The prosecutor must utilize information, evidence, and witness testimony in order to convince the court that the defendant possessed the mens rea and actus reus. Therefore, if an individual is responsible for causing harm or injury to another person without the intention to do so or through an accident, then the offender cannot be charged with a crime. 
 
 
Although the perpetrator may have taken part in behavior that was detrimental to another person, the offender did not have the intention to cause harm and may have not possessed the knowledge that his or her behavior was illegal or potentially dangerous.
 
 
Requiring both mens rea and actus reus to be present assists in preventing innocent individuals or offenders who do not deserve harsh sentences from becoming convicted criminals required to serve long and severe criminal sentences. Thus, both mens rea and actus reus are of great importance when dealing with crimes.

The Purpose of a Criminal Defense

The Purpose of a Criminal Defense

The outcome of a criminal law case will have an extremely large effect on the defendant that is being accused of violating the law. Therefore, it is essential that the accused hire a successful criminal defense lawyer that will effectively represent them in court and defend them against charges of criminality.
Criminal defense attorneys are responsible for nullifying any accusations made by the prosecution through the use of evidence and witness testimony. Therefore, the primary and most essential focus of criminal defense attorneys is to develop a successful criminal defense. They may do this by attempting to prove that the defendant is not responsible for the crime in question.
As long as the defendant has pleaded “not guilty” to the crime of which he or she is accused, then they will be required to prove their client’s innocence or to counter the accusations of the prosecution with convincing arguments. 
Criminal defense attorneys may accomplish this by disproving the motive for the crime or by explaining that the evidence available is not sufficient enough to convict their client. In the ideal situation, criminal defense attorneys will be able to offer the court enough evidence and information to provide the jury with reasonable doubt. 

Death Penalty

Death Penalty

Throughout a large portion of history, torture was often associated with capital punishment. In ancient and medieval times, rulers created horrific methods of execution in order to ensure that their victims suffered a great deal while dying. Often these methods of murder were used as a means of entertainment for the ruler and spectators, and the death penalty was often exacted as a result of minor crimes or on the whim of the ruler.
Some of the common methods of killing a victim were decapitation, burning, and crucifixion. More appalling methods of execution were impalement, disembowelment, flaying, the breaking wheel, boiling, and necklacing. Many of these execution methods took an extremely long time to kill their victim.
Today, some of these methods are still practiced in underdeveloped countries or nations without a stable government. In the United States, capital punishment is rarely used, and when it is, it follows a long judicial process.

A Quick Explanation of Criminal Law

A Quick Explanation of Criminal LawCriminal law is the portion of law, legislation, and legal practice that deals with illegal activity and the punishment of crimes. However, criminal sentences often border on forms of cruel and unusual punishment. Although criminal law is a very important and essential body of law, there are still many inherent problems and concerns that need to be addressed

What to Know About Life Imprisonment

What to Know About Life Imprisonment

One of the most severe punishments that may be imposed upon a convicted criminal is a sentence of life in prison. This sentence is reserved for extremely dangerous criminals who have committed atrocious crimes. 
This sentence assists in keeping the public safe from the threat that convicted criminals may pose to society. However, a great deal of debate surrounds life imprisonment. Many people find it to be an effective alternative to the death penalty.
Individuals who oppose life sentences argue that this punishment is often imposed when it should not be and that the use of a life sentence is often unconstitutional when it is disproportionate to the crime that has been committed. People also reason that this sentence is not always successful in harmful individuals off of the street. In theory, life in prison should keep a criminal behind bars for their entire lives. However, this is not always the case.
Background
Next to the death penalty life imprisonment is the most severe sentence that an individual can receive. The term life imprisonment suggests that an individual who is sentenced to this punishment will spend the rest of their life in jail. However, reviewing data and information related to a life sentence will reveal otherwise. These statistics are often utilized by activists who support the death penalty in order to stress the success of the death penalty in keeping dangerous criminals off of the streets.
There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the sentence of life imprisonment. Many individuals argue that a life sentence is arbitrary and that there are no guidelines governing the imposition of a life sentence. 
There are no strict parameters controlling what crimes result in a life sentence, though it is generally reserved for individuals who are responsible for extremely atrocious crimes. Who should receive life imprisonment sentences, as well as what crimes should result in a life sentence are subjects that spark a great deal of argument.
Types of Crimes that Warrant Life Sentences
Life in prison is a very serious and severe punishment. It results in the convict being forced to remain in prison for many years. They will only be able to see their family at certain times and they will not be able to take part in activities that they once enjoyed. Generally, a sentence of life imprisonment deprives a criminal of any hope for a future for at least twenty years. Therefore, this punishment is only reserved for the most heinous crimes. 
Individuals who are considered to present a danger to society will be imprisoned. If there is a chance that the convict will become a repeat offender then they will be required to remain behind bars. Individuals who are responsible for particularly atrocious crimes or who lack the moral fiber to respect the sanctity of human life will be sentenced to life in prison. There are a wide variety of crimes that may be punished by life imprisonment in the United States.
Possibility of Parole
Many people believe that an individual who is sentenced to life in prison will remain behind bars until they die. However, this is not always the case. Throughout history incarceration has been used as a method of punishment, as a form of protection to keep dangerous individuals off of the streets, and as a method of deterrence. 
Few people recognize the United States prison system as a place in which convicted criminals can learn, change, and improve themselves. Nevertheless, many individuals who spend time in prison find that they develop new ethics and morals, and they strive to be a better person.
Correctional facilities possess the ability to reform convicted criminals and to reintroduce them into the community as productive and helpful members of society. In order to do this, the parole system has been established in which individuals continue to serve their sentence outside of a prison. They will live and work in a community where they can develop the life and the skills that they need to begin an honest life after they complete their sentence.

Juveniles and Life Imprisonment
Currently, a very controversial and heated debate surrounds life imprisonment sentences for individuals who were responsible for committing a severe crime before they reached the age of eighteen. Serious crimes warrant serious punishments despite the age of the offender. But individuals often question how serious is too serious in the instance of minors. 
Many people and organizations argue that life imprisonment for juvenile offenders constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Psychologists and medical professionals play a very important part in this debate because they can effectively and accurately explain brain maturation and development. 
The argument that is often at the center of this debate is the danger that an individual will present to society twenty years into their sentence. Just because a child is responsible for taking part in a harmful and detrimental act does not mean that they will continue to pose a threat to society when they are adults and better understand the consequences of their behavior.
 

Without the Possibility of Release and Criticism
One of the most debated subjects in criminal law is the sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole. Judges will often sentence an individual who is responsible for a particularly horrific crime to life without parole. However, this sentence is often used when it is not warranted or justified. The sentence of life without parole suggests that human beings are incapable of learning, changing, or becoming a better person.
There are many instances in which a convicted felon will reform and successfully begin an honest life free of crime and violence. A life sentence without parole gives criminals no motivation to change or to attempt to make something of themselves because they are sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison. 
There are some cases that warrant a life sentence without the possibility of parole. But there are many individuals who are currently in the United States prison system who are living out this sentence and who do not deserve to have this sentence imposed upon them.

Consecutive Life Sentences
It is very common to hear that a convicted felon was sentenced to serve more than one life term in prison. Many people question the necessity of this, as one life term should ideologically keep a prisoner behind bars until they die. Individuals often question how it is possible for an offender to serve more than one life term. The necessity of consecutive life sentences is often argued.
For example, Terry Nichols received 161 consecutive life sentences for his part in the Oklahoma City bombing. While 161 consecutive life sentences is redundant and ridiculous, a consecutive life sentence does play an important role in keeping dangerous criminals off of the street and behind bars. 
In order to understand the necessity of consecutive life sentences, it is first important to acknowledge the nature of life imprisonment and to know that a life sentence does not necessarily mean that a criminal will spend the rest of their life in prison.
Concurrent Life Sentences
While consecutive life sentences are often considered to be harsh, concurrent life sentences are often argued to be too lenient. There are no strict guidelines governing whether an individual will receive consecutive life sentences or concurrent life sentences. Individuals who receive a concurrent life sentence will spend much less time in prison than an offender who is sentenced to consecutive life sentences or to life in prison without the chance of parole.
A concurrent live sentence occurs when an individual is convicted and sentenced on two different counts, but is permitted to serve both sentences at the same time. If the convict has the opportunity to receive parole, then they may only remain in prison for twenty years despite the fact that they were sentenced to serve two life sentences.

A Look at Minimum Sentences

A Look at Minimum Sentences

In the 1980s, the United States Federal Government acknowledged the increasing rate of crime and understood the necessity of addressing the high rates of criminal activity throughout the nation. In order to help decrease the rate of crime and to deter individuals from taking part in criminal activity, the Federal Government established sentencing guidelines and Constitutional minimum sentences. 
Because of these guidelines and mandatory sentences, an individual who is tried in a criminal court for committing a certain crime will be required to serve a designated sentence. The judge will not be permitted to utilize his or her discretion or to consider factors specific to each defendant when imposing a sentence upon a convicted criminal. Therefore, many people believe that mandatory minimum sentences are not Constitutional.
Minimum sentences do not provide judges with the ability to take into consideration the morals and the history of the defendant. In many cases, when an offender is tried in criminal court, a judge, under the doctrine of judicial discretion, may determine the defendant’s sentence. Without the ability to exercise discretion, sentences may be handed out that result in the defendant being incarcerated for life with no chance of parole for a crime that they committed before they were sixteen years old. 
Noting the previous pattern, this may be the same sentence that is being carried out by an adult who is responsible for killing multiple victims. Because of this, many people feel that imposing mandatory sentences on individuals who are being tried in criminal court is a violation of the Constitution, and it often results in unusual and cruel criminal punishments.

The Purpose of Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Purpose of Criminal Defense Attorneys

If an individual is facing criminal charges for violating the law, they should enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney. Criminal defense attorneys are responsible for developing convincing and effective criminal defenses for their clients. They will be required to convince a jury that their client is not responsible for the crime in question. If there is sufficient evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt, then a criminal defense attorney must employ special defenses to convince the jury that his or her client is not or cannot be held accountable for the crime of which he or she is accused.
If an individual is involved in a criminal case and they cannot afford to hire a criminal defense attorney, then they may be qualified to receive a court-appointed attorney. However, court-appointed criminal defense attorneys are generally unprepared to successfully handle a criminal case. In most cases, these court-appointed attorneys are paid very little to work very long hours, and thus, they are naturally rarely successful in adequately defending their clients.
Thousands of criminal defense attorneys are located throughout the United States and so it should not be difficult to find one near one’s location. Experienced criminal defense attorneys will be effective and successful in negating or decreasing their client’s criminal liability. As a result, the defendant will not be convicted of a crime, or they will receive a less severe sentence than they would have without the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
A criminal defense attorney takes on many different roles throughout the legal process. Obviously, criminal defense attorneys are responsible for defending their client. However, they have many other important responsibilities and they take part in various essential processes. These lawyers engage in a great deal of negotiation with the prosecutor in order to decrease the severity of the criminal charges that the defendant will face, as well as to lighten the sentence that they stand to receive as a result of their actions.
A criminal defense attorney will also be able to provide his or her client with a realistic opinion about their future, as well as the severity and the reality of their case. They will be able to supply the defendant with valuable insight into the best course of action to take and will know the consequences of certain actions and behaviors. They will also fully understand all of the aspects of a criminal case with which a defendant would not be familiar if they chose to represent themselves.