Understand Criminal Law With These FAQs

Criminal Law

The Criminal Code is the body of laws that govern the punishments for crimes committed against society. These crimes range from minor offenses to serious felonies and can carry a range of penalties including fines, imprisonment, and even death in some cases. 

If you are facing charges for a criminal offense, contact the best criminal defense attorney in NJ to represent your interests and help protect your rights in court. They can provide advice, guidance, and support throughout the entire legal process.

What is Criminal Law? Criminal law is a set of regulations established by government bodies that define what activities and behaviors are permissible. These laws, which can be formed at the federal or state level, identify which activities are considered criminal offenses and dictate how individuals who commit these crimes are punished. 

An arrest is made when an activity violates a pre-existing criminal statute, and in some cases, failing to report such behavior can be considered a criminal offense as well. By establishing a universal system of criminal law, the federal government ensures that everyone accused of a crime receives the same punishment or treatment.

Criminal Law vs. Civil Law

Criminal law and civil law are distinct legal systems that address different types of misconduct. The former deals with matters that breach the rules of the Criminal Code, such as theft, and generally involves punishments like incarceration, probation, or fines. 

Civil law, on the other hand, deals with misconduct between individuals, groups, or organizations, and generally involves financial recompense for damages. When someone is injured on another person’s property, it is a civil law matter; if someone is arrested for shoplifting, it is a criminal law matter. 

Occasionally, civil law matters can be directly related to criminal law cases, such as when someone sues another person in a wrongful death suit. In this case, one person is holding another person responsible for the death of someone, despite no criminal charges or convictions. 

In either case, understanding the differences between criminal law and civil law is important in seeking appropriate remedies.

Objectives Of Criminal Law

The goal of criminal law is to define acceptable social standards of behavior. The formulation and enforcement of criminal law have numerous goals: 

  • Preventing crime;
  • Safeguarding the public;
  • Punishing and rehabilitating criminals; 
  • Assisting victims of crime;
  • Creating society’s moral code and 
  • Regulating what is deemed good or correct behavior. 

A well-established collection of criminal laws can provide citizens with order and stability. Criminal law knowledge can help individuals who are subject to it make better decisions.

The Criminal Code defines conduct that can cause bodily, financial, or personal harm to others. Unwanted behaviors can be detected and punished through the criminal justice system. This helps rehabilitate criminals and dissuade others from becoming involved in criminal activity. Deterrence makes society a more secure place to live.

Also, Criminal law helps victims of crime by determining who perpetrated the crime and punishing them. Money compensation may be part of the penalty, but it is the sense of justice that comes from seeing someone punished for their wrongdoings and the hope that the accused would one day see the error of their ways, that allows victims to move on.

The Specific Goals of Criminal Law

Here are the specific goals of the Criminal Code:


Offenders should be penalized for their wrongdoings, especially if they inflict physical, mental, or financial harm on others. Crime victims may witness perpetrators being compelled to face responsibility for their actions through vengeance. They may even be compensated financially for their injuries and suffering.


Punishments for crime are typically designed to deter others from engaging in similar behavior. The prospect of having to pay fines, report to a probation officer, or spend time in jail can inspire someone else to refrain from engaging in certain acts. 


By limiting the freedom of those convicted of a crime, whether through incarceration, probation, or no-contact orders, criminal law can assist protect society and rehabilitate criminals. Incapacitation keeps those who are known to break the law away from people and situations that may motivate them to commit crimes. 


People convicted of a crime may face a variety of sanctions aimed at preventing future criminal behavior and forcing them to reconsider their social behavior. The law tries to rehabilitate criminals by teaching them how to change their behavior and positively impact society.


Restoration could include monetarily compensating a victim who has lost money or property as a result of the crime, as well as compensating the victim for the time required to recover from it. Interaction between criminals and their victims to establish compensation might be part of the restoration process.

The most obvious aspect of criminal law is the prevention of crime and the protection of the public. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand more about criminal law.