Criminal law, also termed as Penal law, encompasses the rules and statutes written by Congress and state legislators dealing with any criminal activity that causes harm to the general public, with penalties. It also covers criminal procedure connected with charging, trying, sentencing and imprisoning defendants convicted of crimes. It regulates how suspects are investigated, charged and tried. Criminal law also includes decisions by appellate courts that define and interpret criminal law and regulate criminal procedure, in the absence of clear legislated rules. In order to be found guilty of violating a criminal law, the prosecution must show that the defendant intended to act as he/she did. In other words, there had to be intention (Mens rea). Criminal law is typically enforced by the government. The state, through a prosecutor, initiates the suit. Criminal law encompasses Substantive Criminal law; Criminal Procedure; and the special problems in administration and enforcement of criminal justice.
Substantive Criminal law defines the crimes committed against the state and may establish punishment. It defines how the facts in the case will be handled, the classification of the crimes (such as, whether the crime is a felony or a misdemeanor), as well as how the crime should be charged. In essence, it deals with the “substance” of the matter. Criminal statutes determine which courts will hear what cases and who will prosecute those cases.
Criminal Procedure describes the methods through which the criminal laws are enforced. For example: when the accused can be searched; when evidence can be seized; and when eyewitnesses can be investigated. Criminal Procedure deals with a defendant's individual, constitution rights - including the right to remain silent, the right to a speedy, public trial by a jury, the right to a competent attorney, and the defendant's right to confront his or her accuser.
Enforcement of criminal laws in the United States has traditionally been a matter handled by the states. Criminal statutes, which vary by jurisdiction, describe the type of conduct that has been deemed a crime, the intent required, and in some instances, the proper punishment. In the application of punishment, there are typically five objectives: retribution; deterrence; prevention/incapacitation; rehabilitation; and restitution. There are limitations on the punishment that may be imposed. The U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment states: 'Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.' A number of state constitutions also contain the same, or similar, provisions.
Liam Dixon practices in all types of criminal law including:
* Deadly Conduct
* Sexual Assault
* Aggravated Robbery
* Drug Trafficking
* Aggravated Assault
* Felony DWI
* Felony Theft
* Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
* Indecency with a Child
* Intoxication Assault
* Intoxication Manslaughter
* Criminally Negligent Homicide
* Aggravated Kidnapping