Criminal Law

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Criminal Law consists of 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. It covers search and seizure matters, arraignment, pleas, discovery, trials and appeals.

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. Other matters covered under criminal law include parole, probation, record sealing and expungement.

  1. Police Activity Stop and Frisk: Your Search and Seizure Rights

    Understanding "stop and frisk" and "search and seizure" law, reasonable suspicion v. probable cause, racial profiling, illegal stops, Terry Stops and more.
  2. Justice System A Criminal Defendant's Right to Counsel

    People suspected of committing a crime have the right to an attorney (questioning must stop) and potentially free assistance of a lawyer. Learn how to invoke both rights.
  3. Criminal Procedure How Criminal Sentencing is Determined

    Explanation of how criminal sentencing works, who decides, the factors used in determination, factors to reduce punishment and avoid prison.
  4. Sentencing Alternative Sentencing: Fines, Probation, Community Service, Deferred Adjudication

    A complete guide to alternative sentences available to defendants so they can avoid having a criminal record or serving jail or prison time.
  5. Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: From Arrest to Sentencing

    Understand the process of criminal procedure beginning from investigation, to arrest, pretrial hearings, trial, sentencing and expungement.
  6. Criminal Procedure Joint Representation: Sharing a Criminal Attorney

    How the court handles "joint representation" - where one criminal attorney represents multiple defendants, conflicts of interest, and waivers by defendants.
  7. Police Activity How Arrest Warrants Are Obtained and Executed

    What an indictments and arrest warrant are, how they are obtained, how police officers use them, challenges to false arrests and other criminal procedure.
  8. Assault, Battery, Robbery Robbery Charges, Punishment & Sentencing

    Understand the crime of robbery, what is required for a conviction, sentencing, how it differs from burglary and theft including aggravating factors affecting sentencing.
  9. Shoplifting, Larceny, Theft Shoplifting, Petty Theft and Return Fraud Charges

    What to expect if you've been charged with shoplifting and your chances of avoiding a criminal record and conviction. Expungement options discussed if convicted of shoplifting.
  10. Incarceration The Difference Between Prison and Jail

    An explanation of the significant differences between jail and prison. While both may sound the same, the law treats them very differently.