Tips for You When It Comes to Criminal Law

Everyone should have some knowledge when it comes to the law, and most especially criminal law. Some people think that because they are law abiding citizens, then there is no longer any need for them to bother knowing anything about how the law works. They couldn’t be more wrong.

If you take on that kind of attitude then how would you turn out, if you or one of your loved ones were accused of a crime? That can be a very traumatizing experience, but you have to be able to handle it or it could be worse. In order for you to handle it, you need to have knowledge of criminal law.

How Knowledge of Criminal Law Helps

You don’t have to be a legal expert, but some knowledge of criminal law can help ensure that you will not have your rights trampled. The most important thing is for you to know what your rights are and what you are required to do under the law. There are certain things that law enforcers cannot compel you to do even if you are already suspected of a crime.

Criminal Law Tips

The following are some tips that you should keep in mind concerning criminal law. You would find this helpful when you or your loved one is accused of doing a criminal act.

· A policeman cannot search you, your car, and your house if you do not give them permission to do so and if they don’t have a warrant to do it. You can refuse to let them search until you get a lawyer. That is within your rights.

· When you get arrested by the police, you are not obligated by the law to talk to them. You can refuse to say anything because that might be used against you when you have to face trial. You can decide to wait until you have an attorney to help you out.

· If you have been convicted for some criminal act in the past then that might be taken against you. This would especially be the case when your previous conviction is for something related to your current case. That would be seen by the court as a sign that you might not be willing to change your ways and so you can be a risk to society.

· Each crime would have a mandatory sentence that would be the minimum for it. This means that when you plead guilty to an accusation, you might have to face time jail time depending on the case. Be sure that you know what that mandatory sentence is.

· There are cases where criminal records can be completely removed from your files. This would be through the process of expungement.

· If you have been accused of conspiring with others to perform a criminal act, then you will get the same sentence as all the other members would be getting.

These are just some of the useful things that you should know when it comes to criminal law today. Hopefully you would never have to use this knowledge.

The Criminal Law Handbook – Know Your Rights, Survive the System

“The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System” by Attorneys Paul Bergman & Sara J. Berman is an impressive 678 page tome of information all about criminal law. The book sets out to assist you with understanding the confusing rules and procedures involved with criminal offences and to teach you how the system works, why police, lawyers, and judges do what they do, and most importantly, what you can do to limit the harm. I feel it accomplishes that goal very well. Most of the book is written in an understandable question-and-answer format to explain the criminal justice system, both inside and outside the courtroom. It goes from initial police questioning through trials to prison and parole.

One must remember that Nolo focuses on making the law accessible to everyone, and the books published by Nolo do an outstanding job of doing just that. Therefore, this book isn’t a criminal law text book as you would find in law school, but a comprehensive guide for the non-lawyer or layperson. For such a guide, it is very good and includes a lot of information.

The twenty-seven chapters are broken down like this:

Chapter One: Talking to the Police. Chapter provides information on police questioning of people who haven’t been taken into custody and questioning of arrestees.

Chapter Two: Search and Seizure. Some of the topics covered here include: search warrants, plain view doctrine, stop and frisk, searches of cars, and warrantless searches.

Chapter Three: Arrest: When It Happens, What It Means. This chapter covers general arrest principles, arrest warrants, warrantless arrests, use of force when making arrests, and citizens’ arrests.

Chapter Four: Eyewitness Identification: Psychology and Procedures. Topics include eyewitness identification procedures, psychology of eyewitness identification, lineups, showups, photo identification, and motions to suppress identification.

Chapter Five: Booking and Bail: Checking In and Out of Jail. The booking process, arranging for bail, and being released on your own recognizance are covered here.

Chapter Six: From Suspect to Defendant. This chapter focuses on crime and criminal cases and charging, grand juries, and diversion.

Chapter Seven: Criminal Defense Lawyers. Do you need a lawyer, court-appointed attorneys, private defense attorneys, and self-representation are covered in this chapter.

Chapter Eight: Understanding the Attorney-Client Relationship in a Criminal Case. Topics include confidentiality, client-centered decision making, lawyer-client communication, among others.

Chapter Nine: A Walk Through Criminal Court. The courthouse, courtroom, courtroom players, and courtroom behavior are explained.

Chapter Ten: Arraignments. Timing and self-representation at arraignments are looked at here.

Chapter Eleven: Developing the Defense Strategy. Just what the chapter title says, the basics of defense strategy.

Chapter Twelve: Crimespeak: Understanding the Language of Criminal Laws. Basics about things such as murder and manslaughter, sexual violence, burglary, robbery, hate crimes, Patriot Act and more.

Chapter Thirteen: Defensespeak: Common Defenses to Criminal Charges. Topics such as partial defenses, self-defense, alibi, and insanity are covered here among others.

Chapter Fourteen: Discovery: Exchanging Information With the Prosecution. Discovery is an important part of any legal or civil case and this chapter provides the basics for the criminal arena.

Chapter Fifteen: Investigating the Facts. Interviews and witnesses are a couple of the things covered here.

Chapter Sixteen: Preliminary Hearings. What they are, what your rights are, and common strategies of both sides are presented here.

Chapter Seventeen: Fundamental Trial Rights of the Defense. Topics covered include: Due Process, Burden of Proof, Right to Remain Silent, Right to Confront Witnesses, Right to Jury Trial, Right to Counsel, and others.

Chapter Eighteen: Basic Evidence Rules in Criminal Trials. There are procedures that must be followed when presenting evidence and this chapter provides guidelines for doing it right.

Chapter Nineteen: Motions and Their Role in Criminal Cases. Learn what they are and what they are for in this chapter.

Chapter Twenty: Plea Bargains: How Most Criminal Cases End. Basics on plea bargains, the pros and cons, the process, and the strategy of negotiating plea bargains are covered in this chapter.

Chapter Twenty-one: The Trial Process. Good chapter on the various aspects of a trial from choosing a judge or jury to deliberations and verdict.

Chapter Twenty-two: Sentencing: How the Court Punishes Convicted Defendants. The basics of sentencing procedures and options and a bit about the death penalty.

Chapter Twenty-three. Appeals: Seeking Review by a Higher Court. Losing at trial does not necessarily mean it is over. This chapter covers appeals and writs.

Chapter Twenty-four: How the Criminal Justice System Works: A Walk Through Two Drunk Driving Cases. Examples using drunk driving.

Chapter Twenty-five: Juvenile Courts and Procedures. Special chapter explaining the how things work in Juvenile Courts.

Chapter Twenty-six: Prisoners’ Rules. Information covering prisons and prisoners’ rights, legal resources, parole and pardons.

Chapter Twenty-seven. Looking Up the Law. What and where to research, including a glossary.

Again, this book is a large tome of information. It is organized well and has many side-bars and examples. If you have a question regarding criminal law, more than likely this book will have an answer. The authors do point out that the law varies from state to state, and I’d recommend that besides this book, anyone dealing with the criminal system on their own look to the statutes in the jurisdiction they are in to ensure they have the law that is applicable to their case. That’s why I really like that the final chapter provides guidance in this area. The authors also note that the book is not intended as a detailed guide to self-representation. It is a thorough overview of the entire system, but it’s not everything, and that’s because you can’t put everything regarding our complex system in one book.

This is an excellent tour of the criminal justice system and one of the best resources around for the layperson who wants or needs to navigate the complex maze of rules and laws that make up our system. I recommend it highly for anyone who wants to know all about criminal law.

Reasons For Criminal Law Enforcement – Objectives

Criminal law, also known as penal law is a term used to refer to different rule bodies in distinct jurisdictions. One common characteristic of these rule bodies is the propensity for distinct and serious judgments as punishments for failing to comply. Criminal punishment which depends on the jurisdiction and offense committed can include the loss of one’s liberty, fines, government supervision such as probation or parole and even execution. An attorney seeks to defend the accused individuals against such eventualities. There are various archetypal crimes such as murder. It is worth noting the forbidden acts are not completely consistent between distinct criminal codes. However, even in specific codes, the lines may be unclear. This is because civil refractions are also likely to give rise to criminal outcomes. In most instances, it is the government that enforces criminal law. This is unlike civil law which could be implemented by private parties.

Punishments of Criminal Law Violation

Criminal law is different for two reasons; the failure to put up with its regulations and the uniquely severe possible outcomes. Each offense is comprised of what could be imposed in various jurisdictions for some of the most severe offenses. Physical outcomes could be imposed. However, these outcomes are forbidden in most parts of the universe. Depending on one’s jurisdiction, individuals could be in a range of conditions. Incarceration could be solitary. The confinement period

could be as short as one day and as long as one’s entire life. Supervision by the government including house arrests, confiscating property and money from individuals convicted of offenses could be imposed. What is more, offenders could be obligated to conform to specialized rules as part of the probation and parole regimen.

By punishment, there are five widely accepted objectives in the enforcement of criminal law that an attorney seeks to defend offenders against. These are retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, restitution and rehabilitation. However, it is worth noting that when it comes to the value placed on each one of them, jurisdictions differ.

Objectives of Criminal Law Enforcement

Retribution – Offenders must undergo some kind of suffering. This is the objective most commonly seen. Offenders are considered to not only have caused unfair detriment on others but also to have taken unacceptable upper-hand. Accordingly, an attorney with the help of criminal law is said to put the offenders in an unpleasant disadvantage hence balancing out the scales. Individuals surrender to law so as to gain the right not to be killed. If individuals flout the laws, they give up the rights given to them by the laws. Therefore, individuals who kill may also be killed. One related hypotheses contains the correcting the balance idea.

Deterrence – Individual deterrence is intended at specific criminals.

The intention here is to impose adequate punishment so as to discourage offenders from criminal behavior. General deterrence is intended for the general public. By imposing penalties on offenders, other people are put off from committing the same crimes.

Incapacitation – This is intended to keep offenders away from the public so as to protect society from their delinquency. Today, courts of law with the help of attorneys use prison sentences to attain this.

Banishment and the death penalty also serve a similar purpose.

Rehabilitation – Courts of law and the attorney use this to transform criminals into useful members of society. Its chief objective is to convince criminals of their wrong doing thus preventing more crimes from occurring.

Restitution – This is a punishment theory that is victim oriented. The intention is to use the state authority to fix damages inflicted by criminals on innocent victims. For instance, individuals who misappropriate are required to reimburse the amount acquired unjustly. Usually, restitution is put together with other chief objectives of criminal law and is directly linked to civil law ideas.