What is the difference between criminal law and criminal procedure?

Criminal law generally defines the rights and obligations of individuals in society. Criminal procedure generally refers to the observance of the rights of individuals during criminal proceedings. This book focuses on substantive criminal law, but occasionally touches on criminal procedure issues, so it's important to differentiate between the two. While criminal law focuses on the community, criminal procedure focuses on government.

Criminal law can be studied in depth at the graduate level (after completing a bachelor's degree). It is a concentration that is available in most law schools in the United States and leads primarily to a career as a lawyer. Criminal law is not as versatile as criminal justice, although both specialties apply to the field of criminal justice. When taking Criminal Law, you will focus on the legal ramifications of crime rather than the social aspects of it.

You'll be immersed in a research-intensive environment where pristine writing skills are very important and a keen eye for detail is a must. In addition to a law degree, also known as a JD or Juris Doctor, you can study Criminal Law from a historical standpoint at any academic level, but these programs are rarely seen. If you're a newer law student who hasn't yet taken up both criminal law and criminal procedure, you're not alone. In addition, students learn the basics of criminal liability by reading case law and class discussions.

Criminal justice refers to the universal and political aspects of the field, including the exploration of police, courts, corrections and other daily applications. Civil law deals with behavior that constitutes injury to a person or other private party, such as a corporation. To determine an appropriate sentence, the judge, rather than a jury, will consider a report on the defendant's criminal history prepared by a federal probation officer, as well as the evidence presented during the trial. Procedural law establishes the rules by which judicial proceedings related to the application of substantive laws are carried out.

In Anglo-American law, the party bringing a criminal action (that is, in most cases, the state) is called an indictment, but the party bringing a civil action is the plaintiff. For those interested in a career in criminal prosecution or defense, most law schools also offer advanced versions of the two courses. In most states, the same laws that define criminal offenses also set the maximum penalties that can be imposed, from fines to jail time. During the 20th century, substantive laws changed and grew rapidly as Congress and state legislatures moved to unify and modernize many Common Law principles.

Check out some of the most interesting articles on careers, universities, and degree options in the criminal justice field. Procedural and substantive laws may vary by state and sometimes county, so individuals accused of crimes should consult with a criminal law attorney practicing in their jurisdiction. Since the primary purpose of all court proceedings is to determine the truth according to the best available evidence while protecting the rights of all involved, procedural laws of evidence govern the admissibility of evidence and the presentation and testimony of witnesses. States will replace Common Law and different state laws as the only authoritative source of substantive business law.


Mable Aliotta
Mable Aliotta

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