Criminal law in the United States

by | Nov 26, 2013 | Lawyers & Law Firms

The US justice system is broken down into two distinct categories; criminal and civil. Civil law focuses on disputes between parties that are seeking monetary damages whereas a criminal attorney in Bel Air MD represents clients who are charged with a criminal offense. American citizens are governed by a series of laws, both state and federal. The behavior of all citizens is governed by these laws and in the event a person violates one of these laws, he or she can be charged with a crime. The crime can be one against the state, a federal crime or in some cases; a single crime can violate state and federal law.

A felony or misdemeanor:

In the criminal justice system there are two categories of crime; a felony and a misdemeanor. A felony is a crime which involves serious misconduct and the punishment is equally serious, it can be life imprisonment or even death. Although they are all felonies, most states break them down into degrees or classes of crime; they all have different degrees of punishment. Some of the worst felonies are murder, rape and manslaughter; a white collar crime where there is no harm to the person is judged differently.

Although still a criminal act, a misdemeanor is a crime of less serious nature and the punishment meted is equally less serious. Examples of misdemeanors are a traffic violation, shop lifting and simple assault.

The criminal attorney:

A criminal attorney in Bel Air MD is required regardless of whether the accused is facing felony or misdemeanor charges. This attorney will defend the accused and the constitution of the United States gives the accused the right of innocence, it is up to the state to prove guilt, the defendant does not have to prove innocence as that is assumed by law. The criminal attorney uses all his or her skills to investigate the charges and gather evidence which will allow the defense to throw doubt into the minds of the jurors. Of course everything that is suggested has to be backed up but in many cases the strategy that the attorney develops is enough to question the validity of the charge. The job of the criminal attorney is to prove the client’s innocence or to mitigate the sentence if found guilty.

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