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Crimes. What is a Crime???? Punishable offense against society. Designed to protect society from the criminal. . Elements of Criminal Acts. Whether you had a duty imposed by a criminal statute to do (or not to do) a certain thing.

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What is a Crime????

  • Punishable offense against society.
  • Designed to protect society from the criminal.
elements of criminal acts
Elements of Criminal Acts
  • Whether you had a duty imposed by a criminal statute to do (or not to do) a certain thing.
  • Whether you performed an act or omission in violation of that duty.
  • Whether or not you had Criminal Intent.
  • Duty: Everyone has a DUTY to abide by the law. If not, you might be charged with a crime.
  • Violation of the Duty: a BREACH of Duty is a criminal act (i.e. causing bodily harm, robbery, etc.)
  • Criminal Intent: this determines the level of seriousness (i.e. 1st degree murder vs. manslaughter. Typically have to be 18, and it’s the state of mind and motive behind the act.
business crimes
Business Crimes

Corporations are legal entities and they can posses criminal intent:

  • If corporations employees have criminal intent.
  • If employees were doing assigned duties and criminal acts benefited the corporation
  • If a corporation’s employees commit a crime corporate officers can be held criminally responsible. (Doctrine of Vicarious Criminal Liability)
  • Vicarious means substituted.

Davis, the chief accountant of the Del Norte Credit Union, cleverly juggled the company records over a period of years. During that time, she took at least $35,000 belonging to the credit union. When the theft was discovered by outside auditors, Davis repaid the money with interest. Has she committed a crime despite the repayment?

  • Embezzlement
  • Treason
  • Tax Evasion
  • Bigamy
  • Obscenity
who will investigate crimes
Who will investigate Crimes?
  • The police will investigate criminal matters, but will not investigate civil matters.
3 classifications of crimes
3 Classifications of Crimes

Felony –

  • Serious crime punishable by either confinement for more than 1 year in state prison or by execution


  • Less serious crime punishable by:
    • Confinement in county and city jail less than 1 year.
    • Fine
    • Both


  • lesser misdemeanors that if convicted can only result in fines. NOTE: A person charges with an infraction is not entitled to trial by jury since they cannot be imprisoned. (Parking, Littering)

With a partner classify the following as either a FELONY or MISDEMEANOR and explain your answers.

business related crimes
Business Related Crimes
  • Business related crimes are often called White Collar Crimes –Non-violent crimes committed by businesses or business people or against businesses.

“A crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation" (Edwin Sutherland 1939).

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey
The head of a labor union threatened to call a costly strike among employees of the company unless she was paid $10,000 by the employer.

This was extortion.

did you know
Did You Know??

When one person helps another commit a crime they are also guilty of wrongdoing. One who plans the crime or intentionally helps is guilty of the same crime.In most jurisdictions if someone is killed during the commission of a felony, all the people who participated are guilty.

  • Musk, a career criminal, planned a bank robbery. He sent Spiro and Adams to do the “job”. He also had Greene steal a car and serve as chauffeur and lookout. Spiro killed a bank guard during the getaway. Who is guilty of what crimes?
  • ALL are charged with car theft, armed robbery, murder.
  • Joe agrees to let Mary copy from his test paper. They are caught in the act and both fail the test. Why does Joe also fail?What happened in Texas??
what about business
What about business??
  • Corporations can be criminally liable for the conduct of it’s employees.
  • Officers of Corporation may be criminally liable for the actions of their managers.
what are your rights when arrested
What are Your Rights when Arrested?
  • Due Process - fairness in investigation and in court
      • Evidence presented against them cannot be developed by unreasonable search and seizures. They must have probable cause.
  • Right not to self-incriminate (you do NOT have to testify)
  • Legal representation. (your own or appointed)
procedural criminal charges
Procedural Criminal Charges
  • Defendant must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. (No sufficient basis placed in evidence that would logically indicate that the defendant did not commit the crime.)
  • Procedural Defenses
  • Substantive Defenses
procedural defenses
Procedural Defenses
  • Based on problems with the way evidence is obtained or the way the accused person is arrested, questioned, tried or punished.
  • Ignorance of the law is not a defense.
  • Example: statute of limitations on bringing charges.
substantive defenses
Substantive Defenses
  • They disapprove, justify, or excusethe alleged crime. They discredit the facts of the case.
  • Self-defense, criminal insanity and immunity are substantive defenses
  • Example: degrees of murder (intent, where it happened, circumstances involved, etc.)
  • Will and Zack, who were arrested for possession of cocaine, signed a confession at the police station. At their trial, they claimed that their right to due process had been violated. They said they had not been advised of their right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present when questioned. If true, are those good defenses?
substantive defenses1
Substantive Defenses
  • Self-Defense
    • Is the use of the force that appears to be reasonably necessary to the victim to prevent death, serious bodily harm, kidnapping, or rape.
    • One may not use deadly force if non-deadly force appears reasonable.
    • Only nondeadly force may be used to protect or recover property.
    • This defense extends to members of one’s family and household and to others who one has a legal duty to protect.
substantive defenses2
Substantive Defenses
  • CriminalInsanity
    • Generally exists when the accused does not know the difference between right and wrong.
    • If this is true there can be no criminal intent.
  • Immunity
    • Is freedom from prosecution even when one has committed the crime charged. It is exchanged for testimony
    • Grants immunity to remove the privilege against self-incrimination.
    • CONTEMPT OF COURT if refuse to testify after being granted immune.
  • The purpose is to discipline the wrongdoer. Punishment should deter others from similar behavior.
  • Often the accused voluntarily gives up the right to a public trial to avoid the risk of a greater penalty if convicted. They plead guilty to a less serious crime.
class work
Class Work
  • Your Legal Vocabulary (p. 76, #1-11)
  • Think Critically About Evidence (p. 77-78: #18, 19, 22)
  • WRITING ASSIGNMENT: Write ½-1 page essay reviewing a case from the following Cyberlaw website: Do you agree? Should it be appealed if the verdict was guilty? Was their procedural or substantive evidence withheld?