Felony law refers to the prosecution and defense of crimes punishable by at least one year in prison. These crimes exist in state and federal court. Municipal court systems typically do not handle felony cases, so if a city police officer makes a felony arrest, the case will be transferred to county court.
Offenses lower than felonies and generally those punishable by fine, penalty, forfeiture, or imprisonment other than in a penitentiary. Under federal law, and most state laws, any offense other than a felony is classified as a misdemeanor.
The area of criminal law applicable to persons not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts. In most states, the age for criminal culpability is set at 18 years. The main goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation rather than punishment.
Traffic violation law covers any number of unlawful activities involving a motor vehicle. These laws deal with moving violations like drunk driving and speeding, as well as violations based on the condition or status of a vehicle, such as expired registration.
A bond hearing is where a judge determines if someone under arrest can be released from jail between the date of the hearing and the time the criminal case is decided. A bond hearing is sometimes called a bail hearing. The judge gathers information about whether the defendant is a danger to the community.
Probation in criminal law is a period of supervision over an offender, ordered by a court instead of serving time in prison. In some jurisdictions, the term probation applies only to community sentences (alternatives to incarceration), such as suspended sentences.
Theft, in law, a general term covering a variety of specific types of stealing, including the crimes of larceny, robbery, and burglary. Theft is defined as the physical removal of an object that is capable of being stolen without the consent of the owner and with the intention of depriving the owner of it permanently.
Domestic violence law provides the criminal rules for punishing those who cause emotional or physical harm to others with whom they share a family or other close relationship. Federal legislation has been enacted making domestic violence a crime, most notably the Violence against Women Act (VAWA).
Driving While Revoked, Suspended or Otherwise Unlicensed: Penalties by State. These penalties vary widely but follow a similar theme: driving without a license is a serious offense that goes beyond a moving violation. Penalties generally involve fines, jail time or both.
Every state has laws against prohibiting the various types of sex crimes, such as rape and sexual assault, and each state has its own time limit (or “statute of limitations”) in which victims of sex crimes may file a lawsuit against the alleged offender.
Many states view drugs as a direct cause of most criminal activity. In addition, because of the correlation between drug use and criminal activity, the penalties for drug crimes increase exponentially based upon the quantity of drugs involved and their intended use.
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