What is Criminal Law?
The U.S. justice system divided into two distinct braches, civil and criminal law.
The behavior of citizens in the United States is governed by state laws found in the state criminal codes and federal penal code. When a person commits a crime, he or she violeates one of these laws and criminal charges are filed.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
Crimes are generally categorized as felonies or misdemeanors based on their nature and the maximum punishment that can be imposed.
Felony: Involves serious misconduct that is punishable by death or by imprisonment of over one year. Most state criminal laws subdivide felonies into classes with varying degrees of punishment. Examples are; murder, manslaughter, rape, fraud, roberry, etc.
Misdemeanors: Misdemeanor is a misconduct punishable by up to one year in prision and/or a fine. Examples are; traffic violations, petty theft, simple assault and battery, trespass and public intoxication.