Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses.
Criminal law seeks to protect the public from harm by inflicting punishment upon those who have already done harm and by threatening with punishment those who are tempted to do harm. The harm that criminal law aims to prevent varies. It may be physical harm, death, or bodily injury to human beings; the loss of or damage to property; sexual immorality; danger to the government; disturbance of the public peace and order; or injury to the public health. Criminal law also often tries to avoid harm by forbidding conduct that may lead to harmful results.
Criminal punishment, depending on the offense and jurisdiction, may include execution, loss of liberty, government supervision (parole or probation), or fines. There are some archetypal crimes, like murder, but the illegal acts are not wholly the same between different criminal codes, and even within a particular code lines may be blurred, as civil law violations sometimes give rise also to criminal consequences. Criminal law typically is enforced by the government, unlike the civil law, which may be enforced by private parties.
Criminal law involves prosecution by the government of a person for an act that has been classified as a crime. Civil cases, on the other hand, involve individuals and organizations seeking to resolve legal disputes. In a criminal case, the state, through a prosecutor, initiates the suit, while in a civil case the victim brings the suit. Persons convicted of a crime may be incarcerated, fined, or both. However, persons found liable in a civil case may only have to give up property or pay money, but are not incarcerated.
Exercise 1. Answer the following questions using the information from the text:
1. What does the term "criminal law" denote?
2. What way does criminal law seek to protect the public from harm?
3. What can criminal punishment include?
4. Are illegal acts the same in different criminal codes?
5. What is criminal law / civil law usually enforced by?
6. Who initiates the suit in a civil case / criminal case?
Exercise 2. Match the two parts of the sentences:
1. Criminal law often tries to ...
a) by the government.
2. Criminal law typically is enforced ...
b) the victim brings the suit.
3. Civil law may be enforced ...
c) prosecution by the government of a person for an act that has been classified as a crime.
4. Criminal law involves ...
d) may only have to give up property or pay money, but are not incarcerated.
5. Civil cases involve ...
e) may be incarcerated, fined, or both.
6. In a criminal case ...
f) avoid harm by forbidding conduct that may lead to harmful results.
7. In a civil case ...
g) individuals and organizations seeking to resolve legal disputes.
8. Persons convicted of a crime ...
h) the state initiates the suit.
9. Persons found liable in a civil case ...
i) by private parties.
III. VOCABULARY STUDY
Exercise 1. In the text "Criminal Law" find the synonyms for the following words and word combinations.