A Guide to Search Results for "Criminal Law"

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The search term "criminal law" is a more or less unequivocal reference to the topic that it purports to address. However, unless one is a criminal defense attorney, criminal prosecutor, or legal scholar, what that topic actually covers is not particularly clear. To wit, legal scholars typically think of criminal law as a body of law that can be distinguished from the body of law known as civil law, a distinction that is usually lost on the average layperson.

Central to the concept of criminal law are the institutions of law enforcement, in the forms of police and prosecutors, and punishment, in the forms of jails and prisons. With virtually no exceptions, the plaintiff in a criminal prosecution is almost always the state or federal government, commonly referred to as "the people," and the defendant is typically a private individual who stands accused of a crime. If convicted of a crime, a criminal defendant is typically ordered to pay a fine to the court and/or serve time in a jail or prison.

The punishment that may be imposed against a defendant who is convicted in a criminal prosecution is separate and distinct from any remedy that may be granted in favor of a plaintiff in a civil law suit, such as an award of monetary damages, and the burden of proof in a civil suit is also quite different. To wit, a criminal defendant enjoys a presumption of innocence when he or she stands accused of a crime, other things being equal, and the burden is on the prosecutor to prove the guilt of a criminal defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. In striking contrast, a plaintiff in a civil suit is usually a private individual or a corporation and is generally only required to prove his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. Moreover, civil suits typically involve allegations of negligence or breach of contract rather than allegations of criminal conduct.

Criminal law distinguishes between felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions, with varying degrees of seriousness along this spectrum. The bright line rule that distinguishes felonies from misdemeanors is that felonies are generally punishable by a year or more of imprisonment whereas misdemeanors are generally punishable by less than a year of imprisonment. Generally speaking, infractions are not considered "real crimes" and are usually resolved by the payment of a fine. However, there is a great deal of prosecutorial discretion in how a particular offense is charged, which means (in theory) that a felony can be charged as a misdemeanor or infraction, and vice versa.

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Are you looking for articles providing an overview of "criminal law" and/or criminal procedure?

Are you looking for "criminal law" sites that offer information and advice to laypersons?

Are you looking for "criminal law" Web directories?

Are you looking for "criminal law" research portals and other materials for criminal defense attorneys and legal scholars?

Are you looking for "criminal law" reviews and journals?

Are you looking for Web sites covering "criminal law" in one of the United States?

Are you looking for Web sites covering federal "criminal law" in the United States?

Are you looking for information about "criminal law" in foreign jurisdictions?

Are you looking for Web sites covering international "criminal law"?

Are you looking for Web sites covering particular "criminal law" theories and issues?

  • Criminal Law and The Internet
    Chapter Eleven of The Internet and Business: A Lawyer's Guide to the Emerging Legal Issues, published by the Computer Law Association. Reviews the history of criminal prosecutions related to computers and on-line services, and describes the current state of the law relating to computer crime.

  • The Federalist Society - Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group
    Notes and comments concerning criminal law issues in the news.

  • HIV Criminal Law and Policy Project
    A collaborative research project organized by five universities investigating the effects of laws on the transmission of HIV and AIDS and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Theories of Criminal Law
    A philosophical overview of analytical and normative theories of criminal law.

  • Lambda Legal - Criminal Law
    A chronology of the efforts to strike down state sodomy laws, culminating in the landmark case of Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, decided by the United States Supreme Court in June 2003, which eliminated all laws prohibiting sodomy.

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