Criminal Law

Criminal Law
Chapter 5
• Distinguish between violations of civil and criminal
law, and between felonies and misdemeanors.
• Identify three elements making up a crime.
• Explain when an omission can give rise to criminal
• Identify the four criminal mental states.
• Identify elements for the following crimes:
– First-degree murder, second-degree murder,
voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter,
battery, assault, sexual assault, rape, and child
• Identify elements for the following crimes:
– Larceny, robbery, obtaining money under false
pretenses, extortion, embezzlement, burglary, false
imprisonment, kidnapping, RICO
– Arson
Criminal versus Civil Law
Criminal Law
Brought by
Party who has
been wronged
Burden of Proof
Beyond a
reasonable doubt
More likely than
Jail, probation, fine
or restitution
Money damages
or a court order
Definition of Crime
• Criminal conduct
– Common law crimes
– Statutory crimes
• Violation of a law is not criminal unless the law
declares that it is criminal
Reasons for Criminal Punishment
• Deterrence
• Protect society from wrong-doer through
• Vindication of victim and society
– Satisfies need for justice
Felonies and Misdemeanors
• Felonies are more serious offenses
– Punishable by more than one year in jail
• Misdemeanors are less serious
– Punishable by one year or less in jail
• Defined by statutes and/or case law
• Crime is made up of elements
– Act
– Mental state
– Attendant circumstances
• The act requirement can be satisfied by either an
affirmative act or an omission
– Act or omission must be a voluntary act
– An involuntary act cannot be basis for criminal
Mental State
• Four criminal mental states (Model Penal Code)
– Purposeful
– Knowing
– Reckless
– Negligent
Strict Liability
• Most crimes require proof of a culpable mental state
– Model Penal Code definitions
• Some relatively minor crimes do not
– Referred to as strict liability crimes
– Common with regard to regulatory offenses
Attendant Circumstances
• Other fact must exist
• Additional facts that must be proven
• Example
– Convicted of assault on a uniformed officer
• Officer must be in uniform
• Includes two basic crimes
– Murder
– Manslaughter
• Killing with malice aforethought
– Act: Killing or causing death
– Mental state: Malice aforethought
• Purposeful
• Knowing
• Recklessness indicating depraved heart
• First-degree murder
– Premeditated murder
– Unintended death of someone during the
commission of a felony (felony murder)
• Second-degree murder
– Any murder not first degree
• Voluntary manslaughter
– Intentional killing in the heat of passion as a result
of severe provocation
• Involuntary manslaughter
– Unintentional killing
• Unpermitted offensive touching of another
• A person can consent to being touched
– Thus consent is a defense to battery charges
– Consent must be knowing and voluntary
– Consent may be implied
Battery and Emergency Responders
• Medical treatment involves touching
• Consent implied from the circumstances
– Person calls for rescue/EMS assistance
– Person does not object to treatment
• Consent may be withdrawn or limited
Battery and Consent
• Consent induced by fraud, deceit, or
misrepresentations is not valid
– Example: Person pretends to be a doctor and is
allowed to examine and treat a person
• Implied consent is limited by circumstances
• Placing another in immediate physical harm
• Some jurisdictions say it is an attempted battery that
is unsuccessful
• Consent rules apply to assault
False Imprisonment
• Unlawful restraint upon a person’s freedom and
ability to come and go
• Also called false arrest
– Some authorities say false arrest is one type of
false imprisonment
• Use of force (or threat of force) in taking someone
from one place to another
• Modern statutes
– Forcibly or secretly confining someone against their
– Forcibly carrying or sending someone out of the
• Common law
– Sexual intercourse without other’s consent
• Modern trend
– Expanded definition of sexual assault via degrees
– First-degree sexual assault
– Second-degree, etc.
• Common law
– Taking and transporting of property with intent to
permanently deprive
• From common law crime of larceny
– Now a broad range of theft crimes
• Larceny through use of force or threatened use of
• Taking money or other personal property
– By means of force or use of fear
• Obtaining money or property
– Requiring someone to do something they are not
legally required to do
• Threats necessary for extortion
– Bodily injury, damage to property
– Revealing information about the victim
• Most states have statutory offenses to address
loopholes in common law
– Breaking and entering (B&E)
• Of dwelling (to cover daytime breaks)
• Of other buildings
• Of dwelling while possessing instruments related to
wrongful setting of fires
• Common law definition
– Willful and malicious burning of the dwelling of
• Common law crime had many loopholes
• All states now have comprehensive arson laws
• Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations
– Illegal for a person to engage in a racketeering
activity through the use of an organization
– Both civil and criminal aspects
Criminal law
Three types of elements
Criminal mental states
Criminal offenses

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