Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It proscribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health, safety, and moral welfare of people inclusive of one’s self.
What we call criminal law broadly refers to federal and state laws that make certain behavior illegal and punishable by imprisonment and/or fines.
Criminal law concerns the system of legal rules that define what conduct is classified as a crime and how the government may prosecute individuals that commit crimes. Federal, state, and local governments all have penal codes that explain the specific crimes that they prohibit and the punishments that criminals may face. Individuals who violate federal, state, and local laws may face fines, probation, or incarceration. Lawsuits against criminals are initiated by prosecuting attorneys who act on behalf of the government to enforce the law.
Our legal system is largely comprised of two different types of cases: civil and criminal.
Civil cases are disputes between people regarding the legal duties and responsibilities they owe each other. Criminal cases, meanwhile, are charges pursued by prosecutors for violations of criminal statutes.