Presentation on theme: "Chapter 16 Lesson 2 Civil and Criminal Law. Crime and Punishment crime A crime is any act that harms people or society and that breaks a criminal law."— Presentation transcript:
Crime and Punishment crime A crime is any act that harms people or society and that breaks a criminal law. Examples include shoplifting, stealing a car, and murder are crimes. penal code Each state has a penal code. This document lists the states criminal laws and the punishments that can be given to those found guilty of each crime. The federal government also has a penal code. Most crimes break state laws that is why most criminal cases are tried in state courts, and most inmates are in state prison.
Types of Crimes There are two broad categories of crimes. Misdemeanors Misdemeanors are minor crimes for which a person can be fined a small sum of money or jailed up to a year. Felonies Felonies are crimes that are punishable by more than one year in prison. Some crimes can be both a felony and a misdemeanor. Theft is one for example, less than $100 is misdemeanor, anything more is considered a felony. Vandalism is another crime which can be categorized as both. Crimes can also be grouped as being against property or people. Crimes against people are seen as more serious because they cause direct harm to a person. The difference between theft and robbery is an illustration, or example, of the way these two types of crimes are seen. Crimes against people are also called violent crimes.
Punishment for Crimes Most criminal laws set minimum and maximum penalties for each type of crime. sentences Judges may give different sentences, or punishments, for the same crime because of the different circumstances in the two cases. granted If parole is granted, or allowed, the person must regularly report to a parole officer for the remainder of the sentence. One purpose of punishment is to punish the person so they can repay society. A second reason is to protect society by locking up a dangerous person. Third punishment serves as a warning. Finally, punishment can criminals change their behavior.
Criminal Case Procedure The rights of the person suspected or accused of a crime are protected by the Bill of Rights. In criminal cases, the government is the plaintiff. It is called the prosecution. In this role, the government starts the legal process against the defendant. The police must gather enough evidence to convince the judge to order the arrest of the person they believe committed the crime. The suspect is then taken to the police station for booking. Booking involves making a record of the arrest. The suspect is usually photographed and fingerprinted.
The Preliminary Hearing After the booking the suspect then goes before the judge to be charged. The prosecution must show the judge probable cause, a good reason, for believing that the accused committed the crime. The judge then explains the charges to the suspect. If the suspect cannot afford a lawyer the judge will appoint one. If the crime is a misdemeanor, the suspect enters a plea at this time. If the plea is guilty, the judge sentences him or her. If the suspect is not guilty, the judge sets a date for the trial. If the crime is a felony, no plea at this time. The judge sets a hearing to learn more about the case. The judge then either sends the suspect back to jail or requires bail.
Indictment, Arraignment, and Pleas The next step is to indict the accused, or charge him or her with the crime. A grand jury must take this step. Some states allow judges to do so. If the judge does not think the evidence is strong enough to bring charges, they can dismiss the case. Arraignment follows if the case is not dismissed. With a felony, the accused pleads guilt or innocence at this point. A guilty plead end s the case. The judge will issue a sentence. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge sets a date for the trial. plea bargaining The prosecution and defense may discuss plea bargaining. The prosecution agrees to a lesser charge in return for a guilty plea. Most criminal cases end through plea bargaining.
The Trial Defendants have the right to a jury trial however most choose to be tried by the judge. If the defendant asks for a jury, the first step is to choose the jurors. The lawyers for each side make opening statements outlining their cases. Each side offers evidence and witnesses. Witnesses offer testimony by answering questions from each side. cross-examination This second round of questioning is called cross-examination. After both sides have presented their case, each makes a closing statement. The judge instructs the jury by explaining how the law applies to the case.
The Verdict, Sentencing, and Appeals The jurors vote on whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. To find the accused guilty, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime. If a jury cannot decide on a vote then the judge declares a mistrial. A mistrial means no decision- the accused is found neither guilty nor innocent. The prosecution must then decide whether or not to try the defendant again. acquittal If the defendant is found not guilty they are set free this is called an acquittal. If the verdict is guilty, the judge sets a court date for sentencing. If the crime is a serious one, the judge may hold a hearing on the defendants background. People found guilty often appeal the verdict to a higher court. The appeals court does not try the case again, they only decide whether the defendants rights were violated or if the judge made errors during the trial.