Criminal Law & Criminal Procedure
Criminal Law consists of the rules and regulations, created by state and federal government, that define the responsibilities each member of the public has to society. It is commonly referred to as the "Penal Code." Criminal Procedure refers to the process of carrying out criminal charges in court. It includes arraignment, pleas, discovery, trials, appeals and hearings. Criminal Law is generally divided into two categories – misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor is a lesser crime typically punishable by a fine and potentially up to one year in a local jail. A felony is a serious crime punishable by one year or more in prison or death. Felonies also trigger the right to a public defender if the defendant cannot afford a criminal attorney. The burden of proof to convict a criminal defendant is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” - a higher standard than a plaintiff's burden in Civil Court.