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Chapter 8 – Introduction to Criminal Law

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1 Chapter 8 – Introduction to Criminal Law

2 Characteristics Almost all crime requires an act, accompanied by a guilty state of mind. Guilty state of mind includes: Act done intentionally. Knowingly Willfully Mere carelessness is not considered a guilty state of mind. State of mind deals with the level of awareness of performing some act whether it was done: Purposely Intentionally Recklessly

3 Strict Liability Offenses
Motive Motive: is the reason why the act is performed. Example: Murder: the motive is the reason a person kills someone for revenge or money. Strict Liability Offenses Strict Liability: these crimes do not require a guilty state of mind. The act itself is criminal, regardless of the knowledge or intent of the person committing the act. The law makes it a strict liability crime to sell alcoholic beverages to minor.

4 General Considerations
Crimes: are made up of elements. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that every element of crime has been committed. Example: Robbery: is the unlawful taking and carrying away of goods or money from someone’s person by force or intimidation. Elements of Robbery: Taking and carrying away of goods and money. Taking from someone’s person. Use of force or intimidation. A simple act can be both criminal and a civil wrong. Arson Paul sets fire to Sara’s store. State charges Paul with Arson (criminal). Sara sues Paul (civilly) to recover damages to the store.

5 State and Federal Crimes
Characteristics Examples of State Crimes: Simple assault Disorderly conduct Drunk driving Shoplifting Examples of Federal Crimes: Failure to pay taxes Mail Fraud Espionage International Smuggling Certain crimes can violate both State and Federal law and can be prosecuted. Example: Illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Bank Robbery

6 Classes of Crimes Classified as felonies or misdemeanors.
Felony: is a crime for which potential penalty is imprisonment for more than 1 year. Misdemeanor: is any crime for which the potential penalty is imprisonment for 1 year or less. Minor traffic: violations are not classified as crimes.

7 Parties to Crimes Characteristics
Principal: the person who commits the crime. Also Known As (AKA): Perpetrator (Perp) Subject Accomplice: someone who helps another person commit a crime. Example: Driver of a gateway car. Accessory Before the Fact: is a person who orders a crime or who helps the principal commit the crime but who is not present. Example: Mafia Major crime Bosses/Families Al Capone: St Valentine Day massacre

8 Accessory after the Fact: is a person who knowing a crime has been committed helps the principal or an accomplice avoid capture or escape. Charges: Harboring a fugitive Aiding in escape Obstructing justice Example: John Wilkes Booth, Dr. Samuel Mudd

9 Crimes of Omission Characteristics
Most crimes occur when a person does something or performs some act in violation of law. Some persons may be criminally liable for an omission or a failure to act. Example: Taxpayer fails to file a tax return. Motorist fails to stop after involvement in an auto accident. Crime of Omission: when he or she fails to perform an act required by a criminal law, if he or she is physically able to perform the required act

10 Solicitation Characteristics
Solicitation: getting another person to do your crime. State makes it a crime for anyone to solicit, that is, ask, command, urge, or advise another person to commit a crime. Example: Danny hires Joe to kill his (Danny’s) wife.

11 Attempt Characteristics
To be guilty, the accused must have both intended to commit a crime and to take substantial steps towards committing the crime. Mere preparation to commit is not a crime. Attempt: someone performs all of the elements of a crime but fails to achieve the criminal result. Example: Person intends to shoot to kill someone but misses or merely wounds the victim.

12 Conspiracy Characteristics
Conspiracy: an agreement between 2 or more persons to commit a crime. The designation of conspiracy as a crime is meant to prevent other crimes and to strike against criminal activity by groups. Example: Government during the Viet Nam war charged several people with conspiracy for speaking publicly to young men on how too avoid the draft. Many critics of conspiracy said the accused were being denied the freedom of speech.

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