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Here is where you'll find the definition of Criminal Law. Finding the right attorney has never been easier than using the 10 Best Attorneys Online Attorney Directory and attorney area of expertise specialty definitions.
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|Unlike civil law, which involves private law suits between two or private entities; Criminal Law involves prosecution by the state or federal government of a person or business for an act that has been classified as a crime. Any act or omission of an act in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding it is considered a "crime." With the exception of strict liability crimes, most crimes consist of three elements: an act (actus reus), a mental state (mens rea) and the intent to do social harm. Crimes are classified as "misdemeanors" (less serious offenses that are normally punishable by a fine like some traffic violations, petty theft, or possession of a small amount of marijuana) and "felonies" (more serious offenses that warrant imprisonment of one or more years, such as rape, grand theft, assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon, or homicide/murder).
In criminal law, the suit is initiated by the state or federal government through a prosecutor rather than being initiated by the victim, as it is in civil law. Plaintiffs in a civil law suit only need to show by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant is 51% or more liable (responsible) for the damages. But, the prosecutor in a criminal law case has to prove to the judge or jury "beyond the shadow of a doubt" that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged.
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