The topic that I chose to write my capstone about was Criminal Law. While criminal law can seem like a very broad subject, therefor many citizens of the United States do not actually understand exactly what is all involved when it comes to criminal law. People often mistake a criminal law infraction with something that is categorized as a civil law violation and vice versus. During my capstone I hope to clear up the differences by thoroughly explaining the differences between civil and criminal law and what constitutes the event as a criminal act. I will also detail the safeguards that are provided to the defendant by the U.S. Constitution. To further define criminal law I will provide criminal crimes that are affecting businesses and provide examples of some courtroom outcomes. The United States follows due process, which means that an individual is innocent before proven guilty; I will provide examples of defenses that one might use to prove their innocence. To conclude my capstone, I will give my detailed opinion of the standards that are put in place by certain criminal laws and how they affect the businesses of this country.
For beginners criminal law can be defined as prosecution by the government of an individual for an act or event that has been considered as a crime. Civil law cases on the other hand are when organizations or individuals are petitioning to resolve a certain legal dispute. When the state, through a prosecutor initiates a suit it would result in the event in question to become a criminal case. Once an individual brings a suit against another individual or organization to the table, it now becomes a civil case.
The website, http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/Criminal_law defines a crime as “any act or omission (of an act) in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding it. “ (Cornell.edu, 2010) Local, state and federal governments establish most of the laws that constitutes what are considered crimes, however some criminal laws vary from state to state. So why civil law spells out the duties that exist between individuals and their governments, criminal law has to do when a crime is committed and wrongdoing was proclaimed against society. Crimes are meant to include both felonies, which are more serious offenses like murder or rape, and less severe crimes like petty theft and jay waking. These less sever crimes are called misdemeanors
To be convicted of a crime an individual must be convicted of the performance of a prohibited act and to have the intent or state of mind to take part of the actor. All statues describing any criminal behavior can be broken down into their various elements. Prosecutors must prove each and every element when convicting an individual of a crime. The website, http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/Criminal_law, also states, “the prosecutor must persuade the jury or judge "beyond a reasonable doubt" of every fact necessary to constitute the crime charged. In civil cases, the plaintiff needs to show a defendant is liable only by a "preponderance of the evidence," or more than 50%.”(Cornell.edu, 2010) For example, to get a conviction on a murder case, prosecutors would have to show that the defendant has the right mental state that shows intent on taking another individuals life. For a theft conviction, the individual must have knowledge that the property did not belong them and belong to some one else, and knowingly has the intent on depriving the owner of their possessions.
Corporate directors and company officers are held liable for crimes that they commit personally, even if it was of no benefit of their own. In addition to being held liable for crimes that are committed by individuals that they are directly managing. Corporation’s can also be charged with crimes committed by individuals, however it is the highest-ranking personal that was directly involved that takes the fall for the crimes at hand.
The United States Constitution offers up a form of protection...
References: Criminal Law: An Overview. (2010, August 19). Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/Criminal_law
Fighting Back Against Identity Theft [Fact sheet]. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2012, from http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/consumers/about-identity-theft.html
Julian (Ed.). (2009, December 14). 10 Biggest White-Collar Crimes In History (and How They Were Unraveled). Retrieved from http://www.businesspundit.com/white-collar-crimes-history-and-how-they-were-unravelled/
Standler, R. B. (1998). Differences between Civil and Criminal Law in the USA. Retrieved from http://www.rbs2.com/cc.htm
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