Traditionally, arson was a crime that prohibited burning someone else's home, dwelling, or nearby property. Its purpose was to protect people from having their property burned while they were still inside.
Of all the crimes punished by society, none are more serious than the crime of murder, the intentional and unlawful taking of a human life. Apart from the federal crimes of espionage and treason, murder is the only crime for which the death penalty is a potential punishment, though only in some states.
Battery against a police officer involves causing injury to a law enforcement officer (or, in some states, attempting to or threatening to cause injury) . It is treated as a very serious crime. Many states have specific and harsh penalties that apply to battery against a police officer.
When most people think of burglary, they think of a thief in a black outfit sneaking into someone's home in the middle of the night. While such activity definitely counts as burglary, the legal definition applies to a much broader range of activities.
Even though the Constitution guarantees the right of free speech, that right is not an absolute one. The law has long recognized specific limitations when it comes to speech, such as prohibitions against slander and libel.
The idea of personal freedom is closely related to the belief that you can travel where you choose without being restrained by someone else. When someone else restrains you or prevents you from moving, this is punishable as a crime, known as false imprisonment.
The crime of battery is the intentional touching of another in an angry manner, or the intentional use of force or violence against another. Assault is defined very differently from one state to another.
The term “theft” encompasses a group of crimes that all involve depriving someone else of his or her property. When most people think of theft they typically think of larceny, the taking of someone else's personal property. For example, stealing a bicycle from a bike rack or taking someone's purse as it hangs from the back of a chair are all considered larceny.
When most people think about crime, it's violent crimes that quickly come to mind. You don't have to know a lot about the law to know that violent crimes are the most serious criminal offenses possible.
Theft and thievery have been around for as long as mankind has believed in the idea of individual property and property rights. Today, states differentiate the various kinds of theft into different categories.
Grand theft auto, or stealing an automobile or other vehicle, is a felony in most states, and may be punished by imprisonment. While the laws in each state are different, there are some general principles that apply in every state.
Rape—any nonconsensual sexual intercourse— between non-spouses has always been illegal. However, until 1975, every state had a “marital exemption” that allowed a husband to rape his wife without fear of legal consequences.
Perjury, the crime of lying under oath, is a serious offense because it can derail the basic goal of the justice system—discovering the truth. Learn what perjury is, common examples, defenses, and punishments.