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Criminal law is that branch of law governing offenses against society. Most criminal law requires a specific intent to commit the prohibited act (although a very few economic acts, made criminal by modern legislation, dispense with the requirement of intent). In this way, criminal law differs from much of civil law—for example, from the tort of negligence, in which carelessness, rather than intent, can result in liability.
Major crimes are known as felonies. Minor crimes are known as misdemeanors. Most people have a general notion about familiar crimes, such as murder and theft. But conventional knowledge does not suffice for understanding technical distinctions among related crimes, such as larceny, robbery, and false pretenses. These distinctions can be important because an individual can be found guilty not merely for committing one of the acts defined in the criminal law but also for attempting or conspiring to commit such an act. It is usually easier to convict someone of attempt or conspiracy than to convict for the main crime, and a person involved in a conspiracy to commit a felony may find that very little is required to put him into serious trouble.
Of major concern to the business executive is white-collar crime, which encompasses a host of offenses, including bribery, embezzlement, fraud, restraints of trade, and computer crime. Anyone accused of crime should know that they always have the right to consult with a lawyer and should always do so.
Jared has made several loans to debtors who have declared bankruptcy. These are unsecured claims. Jared “doctors” the documentation to show amounts owed that are higher than the debtors actually owe. Later, Jared is charged with the federal criminal offense of filing false claims. The standard (or “burden”) of proof that the US attorney must meet in the prosecution is
Jethro, a businessman who resides in Atlanta, creates a disturbance at a local steakhouse and is arrested for being drunk and disorderly. Drunk and disorderly is a misdemeanor under Georgia law. A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to
Yuan is charged with a crime. To find him guilty, the prosecutor must show
Kira works for Data Systems Ltd. and may be liable for larceny if she steals
Candace is constructing a new office building that is near its completion. She offers Paul $500 to overlook certain things that are noncompliant with the city’s construction code. Paul accepts the money and overlooks the violations. Later, Candace is charged with the crime of bribery. This occurred when