law is a branch of law which provides rules to control the crime
against the public. The term ‘criminal law’ is sometimes stated as the
‘penal law’ which shows the frame work of punishment for committing an
offense against the pubic authority. However, according to literature,
criminal law can be defined as the body of statutory and common law that
deals with the crime and the legal punishment of criminal offense.
Therefore, the most significant character of the criminal law is the
availability of a punishment for any offense.
general, every act against the public interest is considered a crime
and the government of the country takes the part of prosecution against
such offense. For example, murder is covered under the criminal law as
it is an offense committed against the public interest.
This branch of criminal law can be explained under two groups as ‘substantive law’ and the ‘procedural law’.
substantive criminal law would be a statutory or written law which
defines the particular crimes. In the U.S, substantive criminal law had
been originated from a part of the common law which was later codified
in federal and state statutes. However, Substantive criminal law mainly
deals with the definitions of offenses which are covered by the penal
code. It speaks of the criminal offenses and relevant punishments due to
be issued upon the conviction.
Procedural criminal law on the
other hand establishes the set of rules for prosecution. It provides the
process which the case must go through. Hence, the procedural criminal
law is mainly concerned of the enforcement of the substantive criminal
law. Sanction is the significant feature of criminal law and it provides
a warning for the society about the consequences of committing a
criminal offence. However, in criminal law, it is well recognized
principle worldwide that the conviction can only be obtained when the
prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused indeed
committed the particular crime.
In practice, a prosecuting
counsel usually represents the aggrieved party on behalf of the
government by bringing a case against an accused. In every nation,
commission of crime is considered as a violation of public interest and
also an offense against the state. Therefore, the state representation
is more important to control the crime and to ensure the public
security. However, all the crimes are punishable by the sanction such as
fine and imprisonment. But every charge for a criminal offense may not
lead to a conviction. The outcome of a criminal case would depend on the
crime charged, strength of the evidence and the goals and strategy of
the prosecution and the defense.
Finally, some potential outcomes of a criminal case can be as follows,
* Law enforcement authority may fail to trace the suspect or investigation may end with no arrest.
Suspected person is arrested and charged with a particular offense or
offenses. When the accused is brought in to the court he may plea the
guilty for offense.
* Accused person is brought to court and
would plea the non guilty for the offense. Following a trial, he may be
found not guilty for the offense and accordingly acquitted by a jury.
* Accused is convicted for the particular offence or offences and sentenced with fine or imprisonment.