1.What is crime
It is difficult to exactly define crime due to the varied uses that is attached to the world. However any standard definition of crime would include any act which is against what is acceptable. Crime can be said to be deviance from the normal practices. this is a normative description of crime which assumes it to be a deviant behavior which lead to violation of the expected norms In order to have an inclusive definition that takes care of the varied uses of the word, crime is generally defined as a breach of ruled or the law which is enforced by a governing authority and is which is will probable attract a form of punishment. This definition has been taken in reference to the society or any for of group where there are agreed form of social controls with rules, regulations, and norms which everybody assuming to be a member of that society is supposed to follow closely. The varying definition of crime comes in view of the fact that there are some behaviors which may be considered a crime in one society but they are not in another society. This can be defined by the legislative laws which are passed in different society. For example, in some countries, abortion is considered as a crime while in others it is not a crime. There in a way we can say that the definition of crime is relative. However, there some crime, regarded as mala in se which are universally accepted as crimes. For example murder, theft, rape, and others are universally accepted as crimes. (Anniken, 2008)
2. Types of crime
Crimes can be classified into two broad categories, felony and misdemeanor. The difference between the two crimes is not always very clear and varies from one state to the other. However the difference between the two basically lies in the length of incarceration that each crime attracts. However in other states, the difference may be decided by the value of property that has been damaged in the crime. Let us look at the close differences between the two terms.
A felony is considered to be a more serious crime that attracts a longer jail term of minimum on years. Felony is considered very serious crimes and their punishment varies from state to state. Some crimes under felony attract even death sentence or life imprisonment. In term of the value of property, felonies also involve destruction of properties of high value. For example according to Arizona law a felony involves destruction of property worth more than US$250.
Defendants of a felony usually serve their term in a state or federal prisons instead of a local or a county jail. In the process of trial, the defendant has the right to be represented by a court appointed lawyer in case they can't afford to hire one. Any person who is convicted of having committed a felony usually has more restriction n their rights under the collateral consequences as compared to a person who has committed a misdemeanor. For example in some cases they cannot serve on juries or the may not have their rights to vote. (Anniken, 2008)
A misdemeanor is a crime that attracts a jail term of one year or less. Individuals convicted of this crime also serve in the country or local jails while other may be put under probation. However, a misdemeanor is more serious than a petty crime and lesser that a felony.
In term of punishment a misdemeanor is likely to be imposed a punishment like a heave fine or a jail sentence equal or not more than on year. For a misdemeanor, a grand jury is not required to investigate the case and is charged by written complain. Defendants accused of misdemeanor and cannot afford attorney are not given the right to a court-appointed attorney. Those convicted of misdemeanor retain their rights to vote, to serve in juries and to practice their professionals like lawyer, military, and others. (Kane, 2003)
3. When and why does crime happen
A crime happens when an individual acts in contrary to the law. In normal description we would say that a crime happen when an individual breaks the law. Anniken, (2008) argue that an individual will be said to have committed a crime when their act can go through a dual process of criminal justice and enough evidence is presented to prove theme guilty beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. Therefore one when one commits acts that are contrary to the law, one is regarded as suspect and innocent until one is proved guilty beyond any reasonable shadow of doubts.
It is still difficult to explain the exact reason why crimes happen. Individual usually have various motives when committing a crime. For example some may be committing crime as a means of survival. Others may engage in crime for revenge, while for others is just their nature and they will commit crimes just for the sake with no good reason. Practically there are two theories which have tried to explain why crimes happen.
The first theory is the classic theory of crime assumes that individuals have a free will and thereof reengaging in crime is rational choice that they make. This means that individuals are likely to engage in crime as a result of their own choice and therefore they should be held accountable for their crimes.
Second, there is the positivism theory which asserts that individuals engage in crime due to innate and environmental factor. This theory assumes that individual do not commit crime because they want but there are some factors in biological and psychological make up or in their environment which are likely to make individuals to commit crime.
These two theories have tried to example the exact reason why individuals are likely to engage in crime. At the same time other have used the three triangle model of opportunity, ability and desire as the main factor that can explain why crime happen. However there has been no exact explanation why crimes are likely to happen.
4. Laws in place to deal with criminals
There are two broad types of laws which deal with criminals. These laws include criminal law and civil law;
Criminal laws are laws which are designed to protect the society from the wrong action of others. In criminal laws police are given the right to take action in order to protect individuals. There are three types of criminal laws which are meant to protect the society (Johnny and George, 1992).