State and Federal Crimes
Both the federal and state governments have criminal laws. Some acts can be prosecuted only in state courts while other acts can be prosecuted only in federal courts. Certain crimes that violate both state and federal law can be prosecuted in either state or federal courts.
Classes of Crimes
is a crime that carries a potential prison sentence of more than one year. Felonies are usually more serious crimes.
is any crime that can result in a sentence of one year or less.
Parties to Crimes
The person who commits a crime is called the principal. An accomplice is the person who helps the principal commit the crime. The accomplice can be charged with the same crime as the principal. A person who helps organize the crime but is not present when it occurs is called an accessory before the fact. This person can usually be charged with the same crime as the principal. Crimes of Omission – Most crimes occur when a person does something that violates the law. In a few cases, however, failing to act may be a crime if the person had a legal duty to act. This type of failure to act is known as omission.
Certain actions take place before a crime is committed. These acts can be punished even if the crime is never completed. Three examples of preliminary crimes are solicitation, attempt, and conspiracy.
Solicitation involves one person asking another to participate in a crime.
To be convicted for attempt, the accused person must have both intended to commit a crime and have taken a “substantial step” toward committing the crime.
A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime. Police cannot arrest people for merely discussing a crime – “the people must have taken obvious steps towards completing the crime to be guilty of conspiracy (…)”
An accessory after the fact is a person who learns about a crime after it has occurred and helps the principal or accomplice to avoid capture. This person is not charged with the original crime but may be charged with harboring a fugitive or obstructing justice.
“We Help People Facing all Criminal Charges and Personal Injury. If you have been arrested… if you need your license back… or if you were injured, let us work on your case.”