Criminal Law: An Overview

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

Author: Kartik Arora, a fifth-year student at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University.


Criminal law deals with a system of legal rules that defines the commission of an event that has been classified as a crime and how the government is able to identify or locate the offenders. National, state, and local governments all have penalties for the specific crime and the penalties for criminals or wrongdoers. People who violate the norms of state, and local law have to face fines or imprisonment or both. Criminal cases are initiated by prosecutors that are presenting the suit on behalf of the government to urge the law.

Crime is any act or oversight of an act to violate the law of defiance or discipline. Distinct crimes are defined by behavior and may vary widely across different states and regions. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) provides a good outline of the most common types of crime and offenses and also provides a list of all crimes that have been committed. For a list of offense or crimes in your district or local municipality, it is best to go through with your local penal code. While some crimes may differ from the law, they can be widely known as "offenses" and "offender." It may include other serious offenses, such as murder or rape, and are punishable by imprisonment, fine or both.

Criminal Prosecution

Unless the crime is of heinous nature (which means no specific mental state is required), standards frequently break the web into two categories: voluntary action (the "actus reus") and the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing ("mens rea"). To prove the conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the litigant has met both. For example, a robber is to seize the property of another for the purpose of permanently destroying it. In this manner, the defendant must have committed the act of taking possession of the property had done it to claim the property of another.

It is not enough for the prosecutor to recommend that the defendant commits the offense. Rather, the prosecutor must prove every element of the crime or wrongdoing "beyond reasonable doubt" in order to convict the accused or offender. Police, prosecutors and other government authorities must also follow specific criminal procedures. This is because all the citizens have rights and the legislature must regard and ensure their rights. In case if these rights are not respected or protected, it may hinder the prosecutor from finding a case in proceedings. The United States Constitution perceives these rights and the protection afforded to plaintiffs or offended parties. For example, if a citizen is arrested on suspicion of identity theft or fraud, the police may scrutinize the individual or accused in relation to the case only.

However, the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution prevents the prosecutors from unlawful inquiries and police investigations, as well as cases such as Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966), was one of the landmarks by the U.S Supreme Court with specific warnings, called Miranda's rights, that the police must give before the interrogation in police custody. Similarly, the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution protects plaintiffs from harsh or excessive punishment. Violations of any of these constitutional rights may result in the inclusion of evidence from a criminal case, which can in some cases weaken or weaken the prosecution's case against the accused.

Types of Criminal acts

In spite of, there are different types of crime and wrongdoings, in general crime can be divided into four basic classes:

1. Personal crime: Personal crimes are those that result in physical or mental harm to some individual or another person.

2. House crime: Property crimes typically involve impedance with the property of another.

3. Embedded crime: Inchoate crimes refer to those crimes or wrongdoings that were initiated but however not completed and acts that aid the commission of another crime.

4. Financial crime: Monetary violations or infringements that frequently include misrepresentation for monetary profit. Although wrongdoings get their name from the corporate authorities who truly or actually executed them, anybody in any industry can perpetuate, professional wrongdoing. These crimes include many types:

Concluding Remarks:

Due to the wastage of time the mandatory compromises are unlikely formed in all criminal cases; the few suggestions that can be done are the following:

  1. Additional cases under section 320(2) in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 i.e. the law which must be combined with court admission must be allowed to be consolidated without the court's consent when both parties agree to settle the matter and refer the matter to mediation instead of the trial in court.

  2. Sending the maintenance and family disputed matters under section-125 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for mediation.

  3. Use of mediation techniques for cases under section-323 IPC i.e. HURT for the Victim and Offender.

  4. Use of mediation method or techniques for cases under section-379 IPC i.e. Theft.

  5. Using early neutral or unbiased assessment strategy method for cases of Criminal breach of trust dealt under section-(405-408) IPC.

  6. Sending cases of defamation dealt under section 499 IPC for mediation.