Criminal laws are often established in order to deter individuals from taking part in detrimental behavior that has been deemed illegal. One of the primary objectives of sentencing individuals who violate criminal laws is deterrence. Laws are developed in order to ensure that the safety and well-being of citizens is protected and upheld. Individuals who disregard these laws endanger the well-being of themselves and other individuals.
Deterrence occurs when an individual experiences a punishment that discourages him or her from taking part in the same behavior again. Deterring an individual from disregarding criminal laws may help save lives. One common example of deterrence is the punishment for driving under the influence.
An individual who is charged with driving under the influence may experience several penalties for his or her behavior, including fines, jail time, and the revocation of his or her license. The fines are often very expensive and may include fees ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Perpetrators may be required to spend some time in prison. This may include up to a few months of jail time.
Also, individuals who are caught driving while intoxicated will have their license suspended for several months. This will affect the offender's day-to-day routine. Offenders may experience trouble getting to and from work, or running basic errands. Once an individual experiences these penalties, the hope is that he or she will be less likely to take part in this behavior again.
Deterrence may occur in multiple ways. Individual deterrence occurs when a criminal is punished for his or her behavior. The penalties that he or she has experienced are aimed at convincing the offender that taking part in illegal actions is not worth the consequences that he or she will face.
General deterrence arises on a much larger scale. Individuals who are responsible for disregarding criminal laws will be punished with various penalties. These penalties are often harsh and unwanted. By ensuring that criminals receive consequences for their actions, other individuals will be discouraged from taking part in similar activities.
They will understand that individuals who are caught disregarding the law will be subject to fines or jail time. If individuals witness other people have their lives put on hold for taking part in specific behavior, then the observers will be less likely to take part in that behavior.
In general, people do not want to take part in actions that are going to be detrimental to their well-being and their futures. If they know that a behavior has severe consequences, then they may not take part in that behavior. There has been some controversy about the use of punishment for violating criminal laws as a method of deterrence.
Many people argue that individuals who disregard criminal laws do not stop to consider the consequences of their actions before they engage in illegal activities. Therefore, some argue that court-authorized sentences are not effective in deterring individuals from committing crimes.