The Role of Criminal Law in Our Society In cases when offenses are committed that are detrimental to society, these are called crimes. As far as common law jurisdiction, when crimes disturb the peace of the sovereign, a legal implication is involved. The agents of sovereign are government officials, and they are responsible for the prosecution of offenders. The term plaintiff in practical terms of criminal law is translated as the monarch or 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. In the common and civil law traditions, criminal law in most jurisdictions is divided into two areas. The first would be to address the violations of criminal law, and so the criminal procedure would regulate the process. Another field is the substantive criminal law that specifies the definition of and punishments for in the different crimes.
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With criminal law, crimes from civil wrongs like tort or breach of contract are distinguished from the other. The criminal law therefore is a system that regulates the behaviour of individuals and groups in relation to societal norms as a whole, while civil law is directed primarily at the relationship between private individuals and their rights and obligations under the law. Several ancient legal systems did not clearly define the distinction between criminal and civil law until the nineteenth century. The basic course in criminal law in most U.S. law schools is based upon the English common criminal law of 1750.
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Arrests and searches, drug crimes, juvenile law, drunk driving, parole, probation, pardons, violent crimes, white collar crimes and military law are among the many types of criminal laws. The other term for criminal law is penal law, a term used to refer to various rule bodies in distinct jurisdictions.