Any harmful acts done to an individual, society, or state, as long as it is recognized by the legal system as unacceptable, is considered a crime. Such definition is easy to comprehend. However, fully understanding criminal law is far beyond simple. For starters, there are many different kinds of offenses or crimes. In fact, they have been classified into four major categories. This includes personal crimes, statutory crimes, property crimes, and inchoate crimes.
In criminal and civil law, personal crime is referred to as “offenses against another person”. This involves a harmful and violent act against a person that leads to physical and/or mental damages. Personal crimes can further be divided into two categories: homicide and violent crimes.
Homicide is the act of a person killing another person. It’s synonymously used with murder. However, the scope of homicide is much larger. It comes in different forms including first-degree murder, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, and vehicular homicide.
Violent crimes, on the other hand, refers to severe offenses that cause both physical and mental damage. This includes, but is not limited to, assault, child and domestic abuse, kidnapping, and rape.
This refers to a violation pertaining to a specific federal or state statute. This may include offenses such as personal and property crimes. The three major types of statutory crimes are alcohol-related crimes, drug crimes, and traffic offenses. Such acts are prohibited by the law, and anyone caught violating it will get a punishment. The more severe the offense is, the graver the punishment will be.
Alcohol-related crimes comes in different forms. This includes, but is not limited to, driving while intoxicated and minor in possession of alcohol. The punishment for such crimes depend on how much alcohol has been taken and where it has been consumed.
Drug crimes include drug possession, manufacturing, and trafficking. The most common illegal drugs are cocaine, morphine, heroin, and marijuana. Punishment for drug crimes depend on which state you’re in. Some states are more severe when it comes to dealing with people who illegally use drugs.
Traffic offenses like reckless driving and driving without license can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the damages you’ve caused. Driving under the influence (DUI), on the other hand, is a combination of an alcohol-related crime and a traffic offense.
According to the criminal law, property crimes are “offenses against a property”. In other words, this refers to the act of unlawfully taking the property of others. This includes larceny or theft, robbery, burglary, arson, forgery, etc.
Inchoate means “incomplete’’. Inchoate crimes involve unlawful acts that were attempted and initiated but had not been completed. Acts that aid the commission of another offense is also an inchoate crime.
For it to be an inchoate crime, the offender must have taken a substantial step rather than just plan or attempt to do it. Otherwise, they will not be charged guilty. These crimes include conspiracy, soliciting, etc.
The crimes shown above are prohibited in every state. However, there is a difference in how each of them establish and impose the law. A behavior that’s accepted in one place may not be legal in another. It’s important that you’re aware of what is legal and what is not in your own state.